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Afghanistan, Iran to sign agreement for comprehensive cooperation: sources

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(Last Updated On: July 17, 2020)

A document for “comprehensive cooperation” between Afghanistan and Iran would be signed during the next three months, sources said.

Sources told Ariana News that based on the document, Iran will cooperate with Afghanistan in the economic, cultural, educational, and security sectors; in exchange, Iran wants Afghanistan to back down from its stance about Helmand water.

Have Kabul and Tehran reached an agreement on Helmand water?

According to some sources, based on a comprehensive document to be signed between Kabul and Tehran in the coming months, the Afghan government will cut its position on the waters of Hamun and Helmand, and in return, Iran will cooperate with Afghanistan into economic, cultural and security fields.

Ali Ahmad Osmani, a former energy and water minister, said: “The downstream country that claims to own the litigation must prove that it has the right. When it is possible to prove it, they have used this water for years. If it fails to prove it, the job is done.”

But what is the comprehensive document?

 The document includes five committees, including the Water Committee, the Immigrant Affairs Committee, the Cultural Committee, the Security Committee, and the Economy and Transit Committee.

Afghanistan and Iran began talks on signing the document several years ago, when Hanif Atmar was a National Security Council adviser, and now, with Mr. Atmar at the Foreign Affairs Minister, the document is expected to be finalized in less than three months.

“Water must be transformed from a matter of conflict to a matter of cooperation between the two countries. It is not right for people on one side of the border to be thirsty and the other side to be irrigated,” said Abbas Iraqchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the matter, but the ministry expects the signing of the document to end the water dispute between the two countries.

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Rescue operations underway for Vietnam landslides victims

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(Last Updated On: October 30, 2020)

Rescue teams continue searching for more signs of life under the rubbles after landslides triggered by heavy rains from Typhoon Molave in Quang Nam province of Vietnam, local news agencies reported.

The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported that the Vietnam army with heavy machinery, specialized equipment, and sniffer dogs have been mobilized to search victims of the landslides.

Three villages were hit by the landslide that buried dozens of people. 

The exact death toll yet to be determined, but according to the reports at least 19 people were killed and dozens of people were wounded in the tragedy.

The VNA reported that at least 33 people were rescued, and operations underway to find the remaining 14.

According to the reports, Typhoon Molave made landfall in the morning on Wednesday between Quang Ngai and Quang Nam provinces. So far, 374,000 people have been evacuated.

Meanwhile, millions of people were left without electricity, and at least 56,000 houses have been damaged.

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Boosting regional cooperation priority of Afghanistan’s foreign policy: Atmar

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(Last Updated On: October 30, 2020)

Afghan Acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar said Thursday that Boosting cooperation with the regional countries including Iran is one of the priorities of Afghan foreign policy.

Atmar spoke to Iran’s Energy Minister Reza Ardekanian via a video conference late on Thursday. 

Referring to the status of Iran in Afghan foreign policy and his recent meetings with the senior Iranian officials, Atmar stated that promoting and strengthening bilateral cooperation in the economic, trade, security fields, and exchanging technical experiences between the two countries’ experts is a priority of Afghanistan’s foreign policy.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the two sides discussed plans to expand cooperation in the field of energy transmission, trade and transit development, the inauguration of the Khaf-Herat railway, proposals for joint investments, preparations for holding the Joint cooperation commission meeting, finalization of a memorandum of understanding as well as the comprehensive document of cooperation between Kabul and Tehran.

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Contracts signed to improve services at Afghan airports

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(Last Updated On: October 30, 2020)

Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority and Group 42 of the United Arab Emirates signed three contracts in the areas of security services, operation management, ground handling, and aviation systems and technology on Thursday.

The contract was signed by Mohammad Qasim Wafayezada, Head of Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority, and Mansoor Al-Mansoori, Chief Operating Officer of Group 42 of the UAE in the presence of President Ashraf Ghani, the national security advisor Hamdullah Mohib, and Acting Minister of Finance Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal at the Presidential Palace on Thursday afternoon.

The Presidential Palace said in a statement that Ataullah Nasib, Head of Investment Facilitation Unit of Office of the President said UAE’s Group 42 develop and deploy high-impact industry solutions in the sectors of aviation, energy, healthcare, oil and gas, and extractive industry, adding that the company showed willingness and commitment to enter into cooperation with Afghanistan in areas related to civil aviation, mainly for Afghanistan’s four international airports.

Terming the contracts ‘truly strategic, President Ashraf Ghani said, “We celebrated the birth of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) this morning and signed strategic cooperation agreement with the UAE company in the afternoon.”

He added that historical and political relations between Afghanistan and UAE can be named as ‘comprehensive economic partnership’.

President Ghani said, unfortunately, the great potentials at Afghanistan international airports haven’t been utilized. He stressed that the government has entered into cooperation with G42 as the company has great experiences in the fields of security services, ground handling, and aviation systems and technology.

“I am confident that officials, service personnel of airports, clients, and our people will feel the tangible changes upon implementation of these contracts,” Ghani added.

“Our airports are our vital infrastructures so we need to ensure standard service delivery which is essential in terms of operation management and ground handling,” added the president while underlining that export of Afghan products through air corridor should meet those standards. 

President Ghani highlighted that Hamid Karzai International Airport has great potentials to turn into a cargo platform.

He added that international airports of Kandahar and Herat can serve as connection points with UAE and Mawlana Jalaluddin Balkhi airport can link Afghanistan to Central Asia, which altogether create a suitable network of airports.

Meanwhile, Mansoor Al-Mansoori stated that the contracts would create more opportunities for cooperation between Afghan and UAE institutions.

He noted that Afghanistan and UAE enjoy historical and friendly ties that have been further consolidated within recent years.

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