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Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Sunday, 24 May 2009 12:25 UK

Iran leader hosts regional summit

Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is hosting the talks

The presidents of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan have held a rare summit to discuss security, drug trafficking and other issues.

The one-day meeting in the Iranian capital Tehran was hosted by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He, Pakistan's Asif Ali Zardari and Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai were due to discuss rebuilding Afghanistan and the threat from militancy.

The meeting comes as Pakistani forces battle militants in the Swat valley.

Drugs trade

"The presidents of the three countries will discuss security issues and the reconstruction of Afghanistan," Iranian state broadcaster Irib was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

Iranian television said the talks would also touch on the drugs trade, since the Taliban rely on opium production to fund their insurgency.

It follows a summit in the Afghan capital Kabul last month between the three countries' foreign ministries.

Afghanistan's foreign ministry said the talks were aimed at creating a "mechanism" for regular high-level cooperation between the three states.

The US has said it wants better relations with Iran and Pakistan as part of a regional approach to disrupt the Taliban's growth in Afghanistan.

Afghan forces made their largest-ever drugs seizure on Saturday at the end of an operation which saw 60 militants killed, the US military said.

Pakistan, meanwhile, has seen street fighting in Mingora, the main city in the Swat valley, as government forces continue their offensive against Taliban militants.



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