News / Asia

Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran Promise More Coordination

Foreign ministers from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran say their three countries will increase cooperation on regional issues in the coming months.  Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki signed a joint declaration Saturday after meeting in the Pakistani capital Islamabad. 

The foreign ministers from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran say the meeting is part of a process to create a roadmap for a region where so much is at stake.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says security and economic cooperation top the list of key concerns. "It is important to consult amongst ourselves so that we are on the same page and we have closer positions on different issues that confront our neighborhood," he said.

The joint declaration calls for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran to coordinate efforts to combat extremism as well as drug and weapons smuggling.  But the ministers also focused on the United States new military strategy in Afghanistan.

The talks took place as American military reinforcements arrived in Afghanistan's southern Nimroz province, part of an effort to fight a growing insurgency.

A U.S. Marine sergeant (Wells) said he expected the Americans would be welcomed by the local people. "Wherever they go they are needed, they are welcome. We look forward to helping the people of Afghanistan in any way we can," he said.

But Iranian officials have expressed concerns about the increase of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, urging Asian nations to come up with a regional solution.  Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says his country remains wary of the U.S. approach. "If they continue the same policies, definitely there will not be any place, any room, for reconsideration, but definitely if they change their policy not only for Afghanistan but also for the other topics in the region that can be a subject to be considered," he said.

The plan is for the three countries to hold a series of high level meetings.  Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta says he is cautiously optimistic. ""I hope this decision which we took, our leadership took in Tehran to come frequently trilaterally together to discuss our common issues to eliminate the threats for our region help us to take more responsibility for us, for our region as Muslim countries, as nations with tremendous commonalities."

While the U.S. remains Afghanistan's key ally, U.S. President Barack Obama has said all of Afghanistan's neighbors, including Iran, will be needed to stabilize the country.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs