Leadership Hopeful About Recent Develpments in Afghanistan
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) – The Russian leadership
is looking at recent developments in Afghanistan as hopeful, the
Russian foreign ministry’s spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told
RIA Novosti Friday, April 30..
about Afghan Foreign Minister Abdulla Abdullo’s planned visit
to Russia on May 6-7 this year.
welcomes the results of the recently-held Berlin international
conference on Afghanistan which displayed adherence to the course
toward that country’s revival under UN aegis," said Yakovenko.
state of Russian-Afghan relations are praised in Moscow. "On
the downfall of the Taliban regime, Russia began rendering humanitarian
aid to the Afghan people," said Yakovenko. "Hundreds
of tons of foodstuffs, medicines and tents have been delivered;
a mobile hospital with highly competent personnel was set up in
Kabul; the aggregate volume of humanitarian aid has made $30 million."
"Despite the continued sabotage by the Taliban, the new Afghan
government is gaining ground, including in the provinces,"
transitional Afghan administration has made major progress in
establishing its institutions and expanding its influence in the
regions," said Yakovenko.
such priorities as rehabilitation of the Afghan national economy,
mobilization of financial resources and completion of work on
forming the new armed forces.
leadership should now focus on the holding of presidential and
parliamentary elections in September, 2004, said Yakovenko.
about Moscow’s talks with the Afghan side on adjusting the problem
of the Afghan debt, amounting to $10.5 billion, according to Finance
Minister Alexey Kudrin, and confirmed Russia’s readiness to meet
Afghanistan halfway. Kudrin had earlier told reporters that Russia
would write off 80 percent of Afghanistan’s debt.
Soviet-era debt does hurdle its economic relations with Russia,
Yakovenko acknowledged. "Nonetheless, a good basis has been
formed between Moscow and Kabul for interaction in the development
of bilateral trade," he noted.
In the past
two years, Russia has provided 78 million dollars for the creation
of a national army in Afghanistan, supplying fuels, lubricants,
spare parts, communication devices, and motor vehicles. A lot
of money has been channeled into training programs for Afghan
military engineers, Yakovenko said.
has also been paid to the education of Afghanistan’s future political
elite, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said. Russia provides fifty
annual scholarships for Afghan students, and will be willing to
increase that number.
to Yakovenko, Russia would like to contribute to the development
of oil and gas reserves in northern Afghanistan. And it is ready
to increase its natural gas supplies to Afghan thermal power stations.
also touched upon the problem of drug growing and trafficking.
He said that Moscow was pushing for the creation of anti-drug
security belts outside Afghanistan’s border.
remains convinced in the high topicality of the development of
a comprehensive international strategy for countering the drug
threat emanating from Afghanistan, including by creating exterior
anti-drug security belts along the perimeter of that country,"
the spokesman said.
solution to problems [facing] Afghanistan directly depends on
the results of the battle against illegal drug production and
trafficking," he added.
The drug business
provides financial support for anti-government forces and impedes
economic reinvigoration, Yakovenko remarked in conclusion.