Iran visit: Khawaja Asif calls for regional consensus to tackle Afghan issue

08:46 AM | 11 Sep, 2017
Iran visit: Khawaja Asif calls for regional consensus to tackle Afghan issue
ISLAMABAD - Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Monday emphsised that all regional countries will have to reach a consensus in order to settle the Afghan issue.

Asif, who arrived in Tehran today on an official visit, stated this while talking to Iranian media after a meeting with Iran's foreign minister Javed Zarif.

He added that the purpose behind the Tehran tour is to prepare Afghan neigbours to reach consensus on some matters, which have not been disclosed so far.

Peace in Afghanistan will impose lasting effects on the region, he said, adding that military solution was "not an option".

He highlighted that the American army has failed to deal with the issue, adding that imported solutions will not not be viable for it.

Apparently slamming the US role in Afghanistan, he said that regional countries should resolve their issues on their own.

"Tomorrow I will go to Turkey and discus the matter regarding regional consensus on Afghanistan," he said.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Monday reached Iran on an official visit amid tension with the US.

Khawaja Asif, who announced his decision to visit regional allies following the announcement of US Afghan policy, is accompanied by Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria Khawaja Asif, National Security Adviser Nasir Janjua, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and others officials on this visit.

The foreign minister along with his spokesperson will call on Iranian President. Matters of mutual interest, bilateral ties and regional situation will be reviewed in the meetings, along with US Afghan policy and its effects on the region.

The foreign minister planned his four-nation tour of China, Russia, Iran and Turkey two weeks after US President Donald Trump lambasted Pakistan for allegedly providing shelters to terrorists while announcing Afghan policy.

Trump further said, “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond,” adding, “Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan.”

Visit to China

On September 7, he kicked off his visit to muster support of regional allies from China, Pakistan's all-weather friend.

Khawaja Asif and his counterpart Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a joint press conference. Wang Yi appreciated its closest ally Pakistan on Friday for its efforts to curb terrorism.

“We are determined to further cement Pak-China strategic ties,” said Wang Yi and vowed that both countries would continue safeguarding each other’s interests.

The Chinese official maintained that a joint effort was needed to confront terrorism and hoped that Pak-Afghan relations would prosper in the future.

He also said that China would continue to play its part in minimising differences between Pakistan and its neighbour Afghanistan.

“Pakistan has been severely affected by terrorism and it has sacrificed a lot over a span of several years,” said Wang Yi and added China will continue to play its role for Pakistan’s progress and development.

After visiting Iran, the foreign minister is scheduled to visit Turkey and Russia.