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Musharraf pays surprise visit to Iran

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has held talks in the Iranian capital Tehran on an unpublicized stopover on his way to the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Musharraf arrived Wednesday for a meeting with Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref.

IRNA, the official Iranian news agency, said Musharraf began talks with Aref soon after arriving, discussing several issues but with the situation in Afghanistan thought to have dominated the agenda.

Pakistan and Iran are at odds over their stance on the U.S. strikes on Afghanistan.

Islamabad has given its backing to the strikes whereas Tehran has spoken out against military action.

Iran has long been opposed to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which Pakistan helped get into power.

Both nations share long borders with Afghanistan and have been dealing with a worsening refugee crisis.

Musharraf has cooperated with U.S. demands following the September 11 terrorist strikes despite growing anti-U.S. sentiment.

Iran was quick to condemn the terrorist attacks but has said it is against the military action over Afghanistan.

Later this week Musharraf will address the United Nations General Assembly in New York and hold meetings with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and U.S. President George W. Bush.

Bush has waived a number of sanctions the U.S. had imposed on Pakistan following tit-for-tat nuclear tests with India.

The meeting between Bush and Musharraf is being seen as a chance to set the seal on the renewed ties between their two nations with the U.S. expected to announce several large economic aid packages for Pakistan -- a reward for its support of the U.S.-led campaign.



 
 
 
 



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