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In Iran, Brahimi says Afghans must determine their own future

In Iran, Brahimi says Afghans must determine their own future

Lakhdar Brahimi interviewed for Iran TV
Holding three days of intensive consultations in Tehran, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, has emphasized that the Afghan people themselves must determine their future.

Mr. Brahimi, who arrived in Tehran on Saturday, met over the weekend with Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi. In discussions with them, he stressed the importance supporting the Afghans without interfering in any way in their internal affairs.

During those talks, it was also agreed that the forthcoming UN General Assembly general debate in New York would be a good occasion to continue the discussions with all the neighbors of Afghanistan - both among themselves and with the UN.

As part of the dozen or so appointments that he had with some 40 people, Mr. Brahimi spoke to Hakimeh Barahman of the Iran News Network and Farzad Madadi of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Corporation. When asked about the possibility of a return of former King Zahir Shah, the Special Representative replied, "I think we should leave it to the Afghans to decide who does what and who takes what position in the future Government."

"One of the problems that the Afghans have been suffering from is foreign interference, with countries deciding what should take place and what should not take place," the envoy stressed. "I hope that, in the future, we will help the Afghans but make sure that it is their will that is translated into reality."

Mr. Brahimi also met with a group of Afghan students active in cultural, social and political circles. One of them, 25-year old Sardar Muhammed Rahimi, said the UN should be more active in the present situation. "Afghanistan is experiencing the most critical period in its history and it will determine the future of our country," he told the envoy.

In reply, the envoy expressed the UN's readiness to help, but also reminded the students "only an Afghan solution will work."

Tomorrow, Mr. Brahimi is scheduled to meet with Iran's President, Hojjatol Islam Seyyed Mohamad Khatami.