Iran's Foreign Minister To Conduct Consultations In Islamabad On Afghanistan's Future

Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamal Kharazi will arrive in Islamabad Thursday for consultations on the situation in Afghanistan, press secretary of the Pakistani Foreign Ministry Aziz Ahmad Khan said at a news briefing Wednesday. According to the diplomat, earlier there were "some differences" between the two neighbour countries but today Pakistan and Iran jointly stand for the formation of a multi-ethnic government in Afghanistan. Iran and Pakistan, the countries neighbouring on Afghanistan, are very much interested in the earliest peace settlement in that country and the formation of a stable government there which would be friendly to all neighbour countries, he pointed out. There are millions of Afghan refugees in those countries, said the diplomat, and this is "a heavy load on their economies." Yet, the differences, very serious at that, concerning approaches to the development of the situation in Afghanistan still remain between Teheran and Islamabad. On Tuesday, for instance, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Khamid-Reza Asefi, said that his government was against bringing into Afghanistan a peacekeeping contingent, because "this will complicate the situation and may hamper preservation of the territorial integrity of the state." Islamabad, on the other hand, insists Kabul be demilitarized and UN forces be brought in the Afghan capital not only for maintaining law and order b! ! ut also aiming to prevent giving more advantages to the Northern Alliance than to representatives of the Pashtoon tribes. The position of Pakistan is the following: Pashtoons should be represented in the future Afghan government, whatever it will be, proportionately to their number. There has been so census of the population in Afghanistan in the course of many decades. However, it is believed that the Pashtoons account for about 55-60 percent of the population in that 21 million-people country.

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