Saturday, January 29, 2005

Iran-Afghan 'silk road' opened - PakTribune

Iran-Afghan 'silk road' opened - PakTribune: "Iran-Afghan 'silk road' opened
Iran-Afghanistan sign 3 cooperation documents
Saturday January 29, 2005 (1423 PST)

TEHRAN, January 30 (Online): A new silk route has been opened by the Afghan and Iranian presidents, linking their two countries in efforts to further reconstruction and boost trade.
The new 75-mile highway connecting the eastern Iranian city of Dogharun with the western Afghan city of Herat has cost the Iranian government an estimated $60 million, and will carry 60 percent of Afghanistan's imports and exports, the BBC reported.

On his first official trip since being elected last year, Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited Iran to inaugurate the road and a power line. This is a very important step on the way to Afghanistan's reconstruction, he said at the inaugural ceremony Thursday.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said, Our stability and Afghanistan's stability are linked. Our progress and development are linked to Afghanistan's development.

There are hopes that the road will eventually extend to all of Asia. The road, which is more modern than others in the region, is said to have police stations, rest stops and 24 car parks to accommodate the heavy traffic that is expected.

Meanwhile, Iran and Afghanistan signed three cooperation documents, emphasizing the need to further develop and expand the two Islamic countries` bilateral ties.

The cooperation documents were signed by the two countries` concerned ministers in the presence of Iran`s President Mohammad Khatami and Afghanistan`s President Hamid Karzai.

The cooperation documents signed on Wednesday include providing electricity for Afghan cities, opening of ogharoun-Herat Road, and constructing more border police stations.

The electricity cooperation document was signed by Iran`s Energy Minister Habibollah Bitaraf and his Afghan counterpart Haji Mohammad Esmail Khan.

Dogharoun-Herat Road opening pact was signed between the care taker of Iran`s Roads and Transportation Ministry Mohammad Rahmati and Afghanistan`s Public Interests Minister Sohrab-Ali Safari.

The 123 kilometer Dogharoun-herat Road would be officially opened Thursday in a ceremony to be attended by the two countries` presidents.

The border police stations pact, too, was signed by Iran`s Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari and his Afghan counterpart Ali-Ahmad Jalali."

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