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Iran supports regional solution to Afghanistan issues
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20:58, March 31, 2009

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Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mehdi Akhoundzadeh said that his country "supports a regional solution to Afghanistan" issues, the official IRNA news agency reported on Tuesday.

"The presence of foreign troops will never bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. It encourages extremism," Akhoundzadeh, who led the Iranian delegation to the conference on Afghanistan, told IRNA in the Hague, Netherlands.

Suggesting that Afghanistan affairs be done by its people, he said "the policy that others decide for the Afghanistan authorities and its nation will no longer work."

The conference brings together officials from 72 countries, including all the 42 troop-contributing countries to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and all of Afghanistan's neighbors.

The "big tent" conference was called by Washington after NATO-ISAF is seen not winning the war in the Asian country.

The Obama administration unveiled a new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan last week, admitting that there is no military solution and asking to put the question in a regional context engaging Iran.

The United States hopes this will encourage Iran to come to direct talks with Washington.

The Sunday Times reported that Tehran and Washington held a meeting in Moscow over Afghanistan.

However, Iran's Foreign Ministry denied on Monday the meeting between Iranian and U.S. officials in Moscow, according to IRNA.

Source: Xinhua

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