National reconciliation and building stable, sovereign, democratic state are in spotlight of Afghan policy
July 22. KAZIFORM. KABUL-ASTANA
‘The world community is firm in its intention to provide any possible assistance to Afghanistan in building stable, democratic and prosperous state’, OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Secretary of State-Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Kanat Saudabayev said at the 9th International Conference on Afghanistan on July 20 in Kabul.
K. Saudabayev noted that the participants of the Conference had laid great hopes on this Conference on the threshold of the start of region-by-region transfer of responsibility for the country’s security to the Afghan Government.
‘The Afghan Government’s goal is to stop bloodshed in the country by means of reintegration of all political forces into peaceful, civil life. The represented plan of national reconciliation ‘The Agreement between the Government and people of Afghanistan’ deserves a positive assessment and long-term support of the international community.
The Afghan strategy of Kazakhstan pays higher attention to the rehabilitation and post-conflict recovery of Afghanistan which goes in compliance with the decisions of London conference on strengthening humanitarian component of international community’s assistance’, K. Saudabayev said.
Besides, the Kazakh Secretary of State informed that Kazakhstan had set to realization of the initiative of the Kazakh President on educational program for 1, 000 young Afghans who were to study at secondary and higher educational institutions of Kazakhstan. First 200 people will start education this year. For this aim Kazakhstan will provide USD 50 mln. Besides, the Chamber of Commerce of Kazakhstan opened its mission in Kabul which proved our country’s intentions to strengthen economic cooperation with Afghanistan. The Secretary of State also noted that Kazakhstan was going to continue providing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
In whole humanitarian aid to this country is rendered in accordance with special Plan approved by the Government of Kazakhstan in October 2007. The Plan includes different measures on strengthening and consolidating economic and humanitarian cooperation. According to this Plan in July 2009 USD 2.38 mln were allocated to the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan for the realization of the following projects: building a school in Samangan province, building a hospital in Bamyan province and repair of the Kundys-Talukan road. In 2010 USD 1.5 mln were allocated from the budget of the Government for realization of the infrastructure reconstruction projects of Afghanistan.
2,000 tons of wheat were imported by Kazakhstan to Afghanistan in 2008 to meet food needs, in April 2009 Kazakhstan sent 1,300 tons of powdered milk and 6,000 tons of rice in April 2010. In 2008 Kazakhstan delivered 333 thousand tons of grain and 512, 9 thousand tons of flour to the Afghan people. In 2009 shipment of grain rose up to 326.5 thousand tons and flour – up to 762.7 thousand tons.
Within the Conference K. Saudabayev held several bilateral meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and others.
The partied discussed the issues regarding the situation in Afghanistan and the presidency of Kazakhstan in the OSCE. In particular, the initiative of Kazakhstan on holding the Summit of the Organization this autumn was approved. H. Karzai said that he would accept the Summit invitation especially taking into account that Afghanistan would be a much discussed issue at the Summit.
In whole the Conference focused on the results of the Afghan Government’s work, the priorities of its policy. Representatives of the leading countries in the world came up to decision on financial assistance to Afghanistan and on withdrawing international coalition forces from Afghanistan. The donor-countries have transferred a considerable part of the rights on distribution of international aid to the Government of Afghanistan. Currently, 80 percent of financial aid is provided to Afghanistan by donor-countries through international organizations but within the nearest two years the Government of Afghanistan will have full control over these funds. As the final declaration says by the end of 2014 security in the territories of Afghanistan will have been ensured by Afghan army and local law enforcement agencies.
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his speech stated that there had never been such clear vision of Afghanistan’s future. He highlighted that successful regulation of the situation in this long-suffering country depended on meeting all obligations by all parties.
“We gathered here to extend support to the Afghan Government and its new priorities … and confirm our readiness to provide our long-term assistance”, Ban Ki-moon said.
The Government of Afghanistan and the representatives of the International Monetary Fund reached a preliminary agreement on a three-year economic program providing for allocation of money within the Extended Fund Facility. Masood Ahmed, Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, said the major goals of this program were ensuring sustainable economic development of Afghanistan and control over proper use of the allocated funds. Despite the difficulties, the Government of Afghanistan has managed to provide economic growth, keep control over inflation processes and tax collection. The financial aid of the global community will help Afghanistan continue working in this direction.
The preliminary agreement on allocation of USD 125 mln to Afghanistan is to be approved by the IMF Board of Directors in late August.
Russia extends significant assistance to Afghanistan having written off USD 12 bln debt. Besides, Russia is ready to help in the sphere of armament of the Afghan army and police. H. Karzai noted that by 2014 the country’s Government should fully ensure economic stability. Since the last international conference on Afghanistan held in January in London, the Afghan Government has defined priority directions of the country’s socio-economic development, management and security. For this, the country has elaborated 23 development programs. Nevertheless, the conference participants noted the authorities of Afghanistan had to solve many serious problems. in particular, as Ban Ki-moon stressed, the Afghan Government must be responsible and decisive to guarantee the sovereignty of its state.
Thus, the International Conference in Kabul which had gathered more than 70 countries, as well as NATO and EU representatives, turned out to be successful – several important decisions were taken and agreements were reached. A certain action plan regarding strengthening and extending the power of the Afghan Government, fight with corruption, development of social and economic programs were adopted. In whole, USD 11 bln are needed for implementation of the Strategy of Political and Socio-Economic Stabilization of Afghanistan developed by the Government. Noteworthy to say, that the situation in Afghanistan remains tense. 13 thousand policemen and 3 thousand militaries of the Afghan army as well as foreign forces were involved in ensuring security in Kabul during the Conference. But despite these measures, the International Airport of Kabul was attacked by terrorists and the plane with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on board had to land at the U.S. military base in Bagram.
However, the international community will consistently and firmly provide assistance to the Afghan Government on stabilization of the situation in the country. Besides, the developed countries are interested in large resources of minerals hidden in the Afghan territory – copper, iron ore, gold, silver, alumina, molybdenum, cobalt etc. Their total cost is estimated in more than USD 1 trln. The country is also rich in oil, which reserves are estimated in 1.6 bln barrels. Development of these deposits in case of peaceful life of the country will allow ensuring economic independence of Afghanistan.