Make "Afghanistan.ru" your Homepage! | Add to Favorites | RSS | About us English | فارسی | Russian   
Afghanistan.ru - english edition
/Home/ Analysis/

Hamid Karzai’s visit to Moscow: Time for economic diplomacy

Afghanistan.ru - 25.1.2011
Dmitry Saveliev

Hamid Karzai’s visit to Moscow: Time for economic diplomacy

By Dmitry Saveliev, Vice-President of the Institute of Eastern Partnership

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ended his two-day visit to Moscow on the 21st January. Although the Russian and Afghan mass media covered the visit widely, they failed to focus on several aspects of the Afghan leader’s visit.

Parliament stages an unsuccessful coup

First and foremost, the Afghan President left for Moscow when the political situation in the country was volatile. On the eve of the visit, the inauguration of the national parliamentary session was once again postponed. The head of a special tribunal investigating election fraud set up by Hamid Karzai, Sidiqullah Haqiq urged the President to postpone the inauguration of the new parliament for one month.

Clearly, the supporters of Hamid Karzai did not exclude that some MPS, who were dissatisfied with the demand by Sidiqullah Haqiq might use the absence of the President, the heads of security agencies and senior officials to destabilize the situation in the capital. Most likely, this was a reason why the Afghan government tried not to give much publicity to the visit to Moscow of the President. These fears proved to be justified. On the 20th of January soon after the President left for Moscow, a group of opposition MPs released a call urging the deputies to prepare for the inauguration of the parliament with the assistance of the United Nations and friendly states. Reports say that MPs planned to seize the parliament and declare the inauguration of the new parliament.

However, the situation was stabilized owing to the efforts by the former speaker of the parliament, Mohammed Yunus Kanuni. After his interference, the opposition MPs agreed on holding talks proposed by the officials of the presidential staff. This made it possible to avert a soft attempt to stage a coup. In view of this, experts point to the influence of Yunus Kanuni on the new parliament and the fact that unlike in other countries, Hamid Karzai could create a new political system where the opposition behaves calmly and poses no significant threat to the stability of the political regime.

New areas for Russian investment

Concerning the talks of the Afghan leader in Moscow, observers insist that although the two sides discussed a wide range of issues, they focused on promoting economic cooperation between the two countries.

After the talks in the Kremlin, Russia and Afghanistan signed an agreement on trade and economic cooperation. The head of Russia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry Yevgeny Primakov said that Russian companies are interested in taking part in reconstruction and modernizing of the facilities build with Soviet Assistance in Afghanistan at a meeting of Hamid Karzai with the representative of Russian and Afghan businessmen at the CCI headquarters in Moscow. Afghan ministers handling relevant areas and about 20 businessmen who accompanied the Afghan President took part in the meeting.

“Trade turnover between the two countries has reached 500 million U.S. dollars,” Hamid Karzai said at the meeting and urged the Russian companies not to restrict their work only to the reconstruction of “Soviet facilities” and invest money in the Afghan economy. The Afghan leader described telecommunications, the mining industry, banking and transport as attractive areas for investment. “We must establish trade and transport cooperation between our countries as we are almost neighbours,” Hamid Karzai emphasized.

The chairman of the Russian-Afghan business council, Abubakar Arsamakov told the gathering about the activities of the council and its role in establishing contacts between Russian and Afghan businessmen. He supported the idea put forward by Yevgeny Primakov that the Russian businessmen’s readiness to be involved in the reconstruction of “Soviet facilities” in Afghanistan and emphasized that the Moscow Industrial Bank headed by him is ready to finance the reconstruction and modernization of the house building factory and cement factory in Jabal Siraj.

The Afghan businessmen presented their projects at the meeting. The head of the Afghan Business Centre, Mohammad Nadir Shah pointed to the role played by his organization in establishing contacts between Afghan and Russian entrepreneurs and the implementation of several projects.

The participants of the meeting at Russia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry also discussed humanitarian projects. For one, the director of the State Museum of the People of East, Alexander Sedov informed about the forthcoming exhibitions devoted to Afghanistan and paid special attention to a display prepared together with the Centre for Contemporary Afghan Studies.

Oil in exchange for influence

Hamid Karzai and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have focused on promoting bilateral economic cooperation at their meeting. Vladimir Putin pointed to the growth in trade turnover between the two countries. “We are ready to work on the reconstruction of the house building factory and the construction of a cement factory,” the Prime Minister said.

The Afghan President, on his part, urged Russia to increase the supplies of oil products. “We are interested in buying more fuel from Russia,” Hamid Karzai said.

In view of this, observers noted the Afghan President’s readiness to sanction more active Russian economic and finance presence in Afghanistan, especially through the reconstruction of “Soviet facilities” and first and foremost, the house building factory in Kabul in exchange for an increase in the Russian oil products supplies to Afghanistan.

***

In short, the Russian and Afghan leaders at their talks in Moscow outlined the contours and set conditions of new economic partnership between Russia and Afghanistan, and this, on its part, will reset political relations between Kabul and Moscow. Clearly, besides government departments, business community, especially, Russian-Afghan Business Council and Russia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will play a key role in upgrading bilateral relations.



/Latest publications/
12.09.13 Putin, Karzai to discuss military technical cooperation on sidelines of SCO
10.09.13 Afghanistan needs support from international community
9.09.13 Russian Foreign Ministry condemns NATO attack killing Afghan civilians
9.09.13 Afghanistan and Russia pay tribute memory of Ahmad Shah Masood
8.09.13 Afghan immigrants follow Russian language courses free-of-charge in Stavropol
11.07.13 Azerbaijan, Afghanistan discuss bilateral cooperation
11.07.13 Turkmenistan, Afghanistan sign agreement on gas supply
5.07.13 Americans to continue fighting terrorism in Pakistan
21.05.13 Terrorist attack masterminded in Afghanistan and Pakistan averted in Moscow
20.05.13 Afghanistan plans to buy Russian planes for army
20.05.13 Russian forces in Tajikistan will not guard border with Afghanistan
10.05.13 Most influential politicians in Afghanistan: April 2013
28.04.13 Almaty hosts Istanbul Process Conference
28.04.13 Kazakh President rejects possible negative developments in Afghanistan
24.04.13 Russia-NATO Council discusses corporation on “helicopter package”
23.04.13 Seminar on drug trafficking to be held in Dushanbe
16.04.13 Vladimir Putin and Islam Karimov discuss situation in Central Asia
15.04.13 Astana hosts international conference on Afghanistan
12.04.13 Pentagon to buy another 30 Russian helicopters for Afghan army
12.04.13 NATO interested in promoting cooperation with Tajikistan concerning Afghanistan
11.04.13 Kazakh Defence Minister visits Afghanistan
9.04.13 Russia demands investigation into civilian deaths in Kunar
8.04.13 Russian Defence Ministry has no plans to set up bases in Afghanistan
5.04.13 Azerbaijan prepares drafts for ISAF cargo transit
5.04.13 Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to set up agro-food industry consortium
4.04.13 Russia interested in cooperation with Afghanistan
28.03.13 US congress appeals to cancel contract with Rosoboronexport
16.03.13 Kazakhstan opens cooperation centres for Afghan and Kazakh businessmen
16.03.13 Turkmenistan suggests building Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway
15.03.13 CSTO Deputy Secretary General participates in consultations with OSCE on Afghanistan
15.03.13 Russia and Britain discuss cooperation on Afghanistan
14.03.13 Victor Ivanov: Anti-drug operation in Afghanistan carried out with Russia’s assistance
14.03.13 India proposes to extend TAPI gas pipeline to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan
10.03.13 Afghanistan to promote cooperation with Azerbaijan
7.03.13 Russian company to build roads in Afghanistan
2.03.13 Russia to give priority to stabilize situation in Afghanistan during its UN Security Council presidency
2.03.13 Hollande to ask Russia’s help to withdraw French forces from Afghanistan
27.02.13 Afghanistan-2012: Outcome
20.02.13 Sergei Lavrov: The US fails to cope with tasks in Afghanistan
10.02.13 Friendly relations are crucial for solving regional issues
8.02.13 ISAF troops may return to Europe through Azerbaijan
8.02.13 Turkmenistan to build oil terminal near Afghan border
7.02.13 NATO bears no responsibility for Afghan drug threat, says Robert Pszczel
3.02.13 US suspects of Afghan suppliers in buying oil from Iran
31.01.13 Russia continues to assist Afghanistan, says Valentina Matvienko
25.01.13 Iran finds Afghan solution to counter sanctions imposed by West
19.01.13 Sergei Lavrov discusses cooperation on Afghan track with Tajik authorities
16.01.13 Russian Foreign Ministry demands investigation into airstrikes on Mosque in Afghanistan
6.12.12 Anders Fogh Rasmussen: In 2013, NATO to expect new impetus from Russia in NATO-Afghan Partnership
30.11.12 Forum on trade relations between Afghanistan and countries in Central Asia ends in Astana
Copyright © 2006 Afghanistan.ru. All rights reserved. Contacts

--2.1--