On March 27, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Kabul, Afghanistan to attend an international Nowruz festival and discuss cooperation with neighboring countries. “Today we celebrate Nowruz in a country that has been the victim of ignorance, aggression and extremism over many eras, but has always acted like the Phoenix fighting against extremism, communism and fundamentalism protecting its independence and freedom,” said Rouhani in an address. He described Afghanistan as an occupied nation without directly referencing U.S. or NATO forces. Delegations from at least nine countries from Azerbaijan to Pakistan attended the festival. Rouhani and Zarif met separately with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon. The following are excerpted remarks and tweets from the visit to Kabul.
Blossoming of #NowruzDiplomacy in Kabul, overshadowed by anguish shared with victims of extremism & terrorism.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 28, 2014