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Foreign hitch must end in Afghanistan

On Board Special Aircraft: Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Saturday underlined the need to end "foreign interferences" in Afghanistan, saying a lasting solution to the turmoil has be based on a sovereign choice of the government in the country.

Returning from a six-day visit to Turkey, which he described as "very serious and substantive and satisfying", Ansari also said the government in Ankara was in different ways trying to bring conflicting groups together and they have an old relationship with Afghanistan. The Afghanistan crisis had come up dominantly during Ansari`s discussions with the top Turkish leadership in Ankara on October 11.

Ansari said that there are two parts of the Afghan quesion related to the peace process that which has be initiated by Afghanistan itself and the other about international interferences which must come to an end. "There has been regretfully for this reason or that reason a great deal of foreign interference. No solution of Afghanistan problem can be stable unless this foreign interference comes to an end first," Ansari said while replying to a volley of questions on the Afghan crisis.

He said the upcoming conferences on Afghanistan in Istanbul to which India has been invited as well as in the German capital Bonn this year will have to address both sides of the problem. "..first in which the Afghanistan has to take lead and the other in which international committee has to commit itself to the creation of structures and commitments which will elminiate foreign interference in affairs of Afghanistan in its territory," Ansari underlined.

Asked whether he was referring to US interferences, he said: "All foreign interferences. I am saying in all directions. Everybody will need to cooperate with Afghanistan". Ansari underlined that solution to the Afghan problem has to be a sovereign choice of the government in Kabul and by Afghanitan itself. The Vice-President said that as far as starting the peace process within the country is concerned, India is fully supportive of the plan laid down by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

He stressed that India is of the view that whoever participates in it has to accept the constitution of the country and discussions will be within the framework of that constitution. "We have said the peace process has to be transparent inclusive….A solution to the Afghan problem has be Afghanistan-led only. That is very very important, Afghanistan should decide what their destiny would be," he underlined.

Acknowledging Turkey`s efforts in resolving the Afghanistan issue, Ansari said they may be doing it though different frameworks, including the NATO framework because they are represented there. "We have our own perception. I briefed the Turkish in great detail what we think can be done. They have invited us to the conference in Istanbul after which there will be another conference at Bonn,? Ansari said.

India was not invited for the last Istanbul conference on Afghanistan. Increased Indo-Turkey cooperation on Afghan issue including conflict resolution is likely after the conference at Istambul. Asked about the situation in West Asia vis-a-vis Turkeys initiatives there, the Indian leader acknowledged that the Turkish leadership has taken a great deal of interest on what happened in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and what is happening now in Syria.

Ansari said the demand for political reforms in West Asia and Arab nations is a process initiated by the public. "our view has been that it is for the public to decide….We do not think it is open to anybody to prescript what should be the form of government in any other country," he said in reference to the widespread violent anti-government protests. On the issue of cooperation between India and Turkey in counterterrorism, he said: "They have suffered terrorism, we suffered terrorism. We both suffered from the same disease and therefore want to get rid of it."

Ansari dismissed questions when asked whether Turkey may play a role in bettering Indo-Pak relations. "We can talk to Pakistan in five different languages. So there is no need for anybody to play a role…We can talk to each ohter in Hindi, English, Punjabi, Urdu and may be in few other languages as well. There is no place for anybody to play a role between us, he said.

On the talks held in Turkey, the Vice-President said there is a serious desire on the part of Ankara to have a substantive relationship with New Delhi. He said "serious and substantial issues were discussed between him and Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ansari also held delegation-level talks with members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, a separate discussion with its Speaker Camil Cicek and Turkey Foreign Minister.

"We touched upon a great detail of subjects both on bilateral relations and exchange of views on a whole range of subjets on what was happening in West Asia and North Africa Afghanistan and the related subjects," he said. "With the foreign minister, there was a very detailed resume of Turkish thinking on some of these issues, Ansari said.

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