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China offers US$15m aid to Afghanistan
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-01 22:55

The Chinese Government pledged Thursday that China will offer US$15 million to Afghanistan this year for its reconstruction, and will also participate in a series of reconstruction projects in Afghanistan.

Addressing the International Conference on Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said China will offer US$15 million to Afghanistan this year, following US$47 million in aid last year, under a 2002 commitment of US$150 million in donations within five years.

"The rest will soon be put in place," Li said, adding that China has decided to cancel all the Afghan government's currently due debts and signed an agreement to that effect with the Afghan Government during the conference.

Li said China will offer material assistance worth US$1 million for the upcoming election in Afghanistan, including tents, photocopiers and lighting equipment. China will also engage in local police training and regional drug control co-operation there, he added.

Referring to the construction of infrastructure in Afghanistan, Li said the Kabul Republic Hospital contracted by China is going smoothly as is an irrigation project on the Parwan River.

Li said China will encourage more domestic companies to open businesses in Afghanistan, and pledged to help train Afghan diplomats and professionals in other fields.

Li appreciated the progress Afghanistan has made in rebuilding the country under the Bonn Agreement.

"From the interim government to the present transitional one, from the Emergency Loya Jirga to the present constitutional body, from the adoption of the constitution to the upcoming elections, the Bonn process is well organized," Li said at an international conference on Afghanistan, which opened here on Wednesday. At the event officials are assessing progress in Afghan reconstruction and gathering more aid for the war-torn country.

The Bonn process was launched at a similar international conference on Afghanistan's reconstruction in November 2001.

Li stressed that an early and proper solution to the Afghan issue is important to regional stability and development.

"The Bonn process is a development path that would fit the national conditions of Afghanistan," Li said.

He urged both the Afghan people and the international community to "maintain the spirit of the Bonn process" and "continue our efforts along such path."

"The top task is to establish a broadly based and representative government, which accommodates the interests of all ethnic groups through free and fair elections," he emphasized.

Co-ordination is another guarantee for peace in Afghanistan, he said. A unique feature of the Bonn process is the partnership between the Afghan government and the international community, Li said.

Li reiterated China's support for the role of the UN and said that China would always be a friend of the Afghan people.

"The Afghans can always find a trustworthy neighbor and a friend. That is China and the Chinese people," the minister said.

About 700 delegates from 56 countries and numerous international organizations, including the UN and NATO , are attending the two-day conference in Berlin.

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