News Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan vow to jointly counter terrorism

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Mar 5, 2010
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari Friday said Pakistan along with Afghanistan and Iran was committed to jointly work to rid the region of the "menace" of terrorism.

Addressing a joint press conference with the Presidents of Afghanistan and Iran here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, at the end of the third trilateral summit, President Zardari said only joint efforts could help the region overcome terrorism, which he believed was being fuelled by billions of dollars of drug trade.

"The three presidents, and our extended neighbours will fight this menace," he said at the press conference that was also addressed by Presdident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Hamid Karzai.

President Zardari said he has repeatedly raised his voice internationally to urge the world to join hands in helping the region counter drug trade.

To a question, the president strongly dispelled the notion that the country's armed forces were directly or indirectly involved in supporting the extremist or terrorist elements.

He however said there might be some elements in the country, whom he termed as "residue of war" who could be blamed for militancy. He said these persons were the remnants of the war against Soviet Union who fought in Afghanistan.

"I personally suffered a loss," the President said and referred to the assassination of his wife Benazir Bhutto in a terrorist attack and said still "no one would tell me who was the financer of Baitullah Mahsud."

Zardari said the three presidents have gathered here with the objective to build nations.

The summit that resolved to address all its issues regionally was aimed at enhancing cooperation at all levels between the three countries.

"InshAllah we are going to witness a very good progress," President Ahmadinejad said.

President Karzai said any impediments in the way would be removed and termed the tripartite meeting "future-oriented" that helped focus on recognition of opportunities and formulation of an actionable and implementable policy to act upon.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stressed that the problems of the region must be resolved regionally and the trilateral meeting was a step to achieve such goals.

Ahmadinejad described President Zardari and President Karzai as brothers, he said they were determined to work out a mechanism.

"We are here to strengthen and solidify cooperation among the three countries," Ahmadinejad said and added, "We are going to move towards removing problems.

He called for denying others the opportunity to interfere in regional affairs and said the three countries had the resources to face the challenges. He said the three countries had large lands, talented human resources and rich humanitarian culture.

Ahmadinejad said the trilateral meeting was held under very friendly atmosphere and the three nations were determined to move in the right direction.

"InshAllah we are going to witness very good progress in our countries."

President Hamid Karzai stressed any impediments in the way had to be removed sooner or later. He expressed satisfaction over the recent engagements between the three countries as "fruitful and deep" and hoped that it would be helpful in understanding the affliction brought upon the people of Afghanistan.

President Ahmadinejad when asked about his country's nuclear program called for going beyond the issue in building relations between the nations.

He said Iran's relationship with Pakistan was based on humanitarian and common values, and said peace and fraternity were the common goals of the three countries and their nations.

"We are shaking our hands to achieve this. We have great hopes of victory in future."

To a question about international pressure to not to materialize the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, President Zardari said Pakistan was lobbying the world and added the point of view that the two countries were neighbours, had been looked at and

"We need to inter-depend on each other. Our bilateral relationship cannot be considered or undermined by any international pressure of any kind," he said.

President Ahmadinejad regretted that due to the tight schedule of the summit, he could not interact with the people of Pakistan and assured that he would do so in his next bilateral visit.

Earlier, President Asif Ali Zardari, President Hamid Karzai and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inked the document of Joint Communique at the end of the two-day third trilateral summit, aimed at enhancing cooperation. (APP)