On the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, held in Beshkik, Kyrgyzstan, President Hamid Karzai met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss bilateral relations between their two countries. At the meeting, both sides promised to strengthen relations and find ways to accelerate the stalled Afghan peace process.

The Presidents also spoke about the Kabul-Washington Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) and both nation’s battle against the illegal drug trade.

In a Presidential newsletter, Karzai’s office spoke about the meeting and emphasized that both leaders were interested in strengthening ties between their countries. President Rouhani was said to be particularly interested in aiding the peace process as much as possible, as stability in Afghanistan was important for prosperity in Iran.

During the meeting, President Karzai was said to have also brought up the issue of Afghan refugees in Iran after Iranian authorities announced last week that the undocumented migrants would be deported soon. President Karzai supposedly asked that Iran grant visas to the Afghans living there.

President Rouhani also reportedly congratulated Karzai on Afghanistan’s recent victory in the South Asian Football Federation Championship.

President Hamid Karzai left for Kyrgyzstan on Thursday to attend the 13th summit of the SCO, and help separate bilateral meetings with a number of world leaders including the Heads of State of Kyrgyzstan, China and Russia.

The Afghan delegation to the SCO included Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, the National Security Advisor to President Karzai; Ershad Ahmadi, the Deputy Foreign Minister; and Aimal Faizi, the Presidential Spokesman.

The SCO, founded in 2001, is a political, economic and military organisation. The Organisation was originally established by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.