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Iran: Khatami Calls For Continued Aid For Afghanistan


Tehran, 12 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's official IRNA news agency says that the country's president, Mohammad Khatami, called for continued international aid for Afghanistan. Khatami told visiting Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah during a meeting last night that the international community should continue and intensify its aid to Afghanistan and not forget its commitments.

He was referring to Afghan claims that only 15 percent of $6 billion in aid, promised during an international donor conference in Tokyo last year, has so far reached Afghanistan.

Iran has promised its eastern neighbour a total of $500 million over five years, including an annual contribution of $50 million in aid, $50 million in credit, and an additional donation of $10 million.

Abdullah's visit to Teheran is aimed at coordinating Iranian assistance.

Also today, Iran and Turkey agreed today on joint efforts to prevent a war in Iraq. Iran's official IRNA news agency says that visiting Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and Iranian Vice President Mohammad-Reza Aref agreed on joint efforts to prevent a war in Iraq.

Gul said a war would have damaging impacts on the Persian Gulf and the Middle East states. Mohammad-Reza Aref reiterated that Iran would oppose any unilateral action by the United States against Iraq, and called on regional states to find a unanimous stance on Iraq. Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul arrived in Tehran today to discuss the latest developments in Iraq. On the last leg of his regional tour, Gul is to discuss possible military strikes by the United States against Iraq with President Khatami.

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah is currently in Tehran also. Syrian President Bashir Assad is expected in the Iranian capital later this week.

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