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Volumes of Aid Increasing

Officials of 75 countries, including the Uzbek delegation headed by Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov, have confirmed during a conference in Brussels their posture to continue with support for Afghanistan.

The Belgian capital has hosted a conference on Afghanistan. In addition to representatives of states, it was attended by 25 senior officials of international organizations. Those who spoke at the occasion expressed their intention to keep with assisting Afghanistan in building a peaceful and economically prosperous future for its people.

The conference was held under the patronage of President of the European Council Donald Tusk and President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, as well as the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan Salahuddin Rabbani and Finance Minister Eklil Ahmad Hakim presented to experts a reform program aimed at state building and institutional development of the country for the next four years.

The conference participants adopted a joint communiqué, which reflects the extent of international assistance to Afghanistan in 2017-2020 years. It includes political and economic assistance for €13.6 billion designed to spearhead specific socio-economic reforms in the country. Member states of the European Union are the major donors. Their total aid amounts to about €5 billion. This is a demonstration of the EU’s commitment to its obligations with regard to Afghanistan.

In her keynote speech at the conference, Federica Mogherini stressed that the support for the country is important not only for the Afghan people and their future, but also for the entire region and the international community as a whole. The Union’s chief diplomat pointed out that Afghanistan is at the crossroads of Central Asia and the Indian Ocean, South Asia and the Middle East. The country could become an important center of economic growth in the region and transport hub, connecting various parts of the world. Today the whole world is witnessing an emerging consensus on the need for greater economic, diplomatic and political cooperation in order to build a stable, secure and democratic Afghanistan. In Brussels, Ms Mogherini put it, the ground has been prepared for a regional and international settlement needed to achieve peace in the country and its development.

The conference was preceded by a meeting of Federica Mogherini with key international partners, including the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry, regional players at the ministerial level, including representatives of China, India and Pakistan, as well as the Afghan leaders. The participants of talks underlined the need to intensify regional and political support for the government of Afghanistan.

After the announcement of the volume of financial assistance from the international community, Neven Mimica said that the Afghan government had informed the conference participants about its plans to achieve self-sufficiency and well-being of its citizens. The forum members drew attention to the empowerment of Afghan women and girls, and stressed that now it is not the correct time to reduce commitments or cut investments into the development of Afghanistan.

The meeting participants concluded that an independent, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan is a priority goal for the European Union, the country’s neighbors and the international community as a whole.
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