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Spanta: We are sincerely keen on promoting relations with Russia - 29.5.2008

Spanta: We are sincerely keen on promoting relations with RussiaThe three day official visit to Moscow of the Afghan Foreign Minister has ended. When the Minister arrived in the Russian capital on the 25th of May he said the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was keen on promoting relations with Russia.

“I arrived in Moscow to tell sincerely our Russian partners that Afghanistan is a supporter of promoting and expanding cooperation with the Russian Federation,” the Foreign Minister told the correspondent of “Afghanistan.Ru” when he arrived in the Russian capital.

According to the Minister, Kabul is tuned to future in its relations with Russia. “We plan to discuss the level of bilateral relations. We are interested in Russian investment and promoting cooperation in fighting terrorism and illegal drag trafficking,” the Afghan Foreign Minister said.

Talks between Mr. Spanta and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov were held on the 26th of May. One of the topics discussed was Russia’s participation in the forthcoming international conference on Afghanistan in Paris. It was announced after the talks that the Afghan guest had delivered a message to Sergei Lavrov of the Afghan President Hamid Karzai addressed to his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev.

According to Sergei Lavrov, Russia is actively involved in the preparation of the international conference on Afghanistan that will be held in Paris in June.

“We are keen on helping actively Afghanistan as a peaceful, democratic and independent state. The Afghan issue could be resolved more effectively with greater involvement of the International community, and we discussed cooperation of Afghanistan in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, SCO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, CSTO,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.

Sergei Lavrov also supported stepping up fight against terrorism and drug trafficking by the coalition forces. “To make the fighting effective there is a need for not only supporting the efforts by the Afghan leadership to establish law and order in the country and support the attempts by the International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan that fight more actively against the threat of terrorism and drug trafficking but also establishing cooperation with the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan. In this sense the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Collective Security Treaty Organization that realize concrete anti-terror projects present quite good additional opportunity,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.

The Afghan Foreign Minister on his part noted that Afghan foreign policy had given priority to develop relations with Russia, both in bilateral format and in the international organizations, for one, SCO.

He described talks with his Russian counterpart as substantial and noted that the two sides discussed a wide range of issues, including security, politics, social and economic cooperation and preparations for the Paris conference.

The Afghan guest urged Russian companies to invest money in the Afghan economy, while the official structures to step up their involvement in the reconstruction of the country. “There is a huge potential for cooperation between the two countries. This includes economics, scientific and technical and other areas. Both countries have common interests in fighting against terrorism and drug trafficking,” the Afghan Foreign Minister said.

Afghan Foreign Minister disagreed with the opinion that the West opposes cooperation between NATO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. “Cooperation between Russia, which is a key member of the CSTO, and NATO is in full swing. This is confirmed by Russia’s consent to transit NATO cargo through its territory,” Ranjin Dadfar Spanta said.

He dismissed opinions by several experts that official Kabul allegedly controls only a little part of the country. “There are problems in the southern provinces bordering with Pakistan. They are Helmand and Oruzgan provinces. The Cabinet meetings have been held this year in Nagarhar, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kandahar and we plan to hold next meetings in Heart, Bamian and several other provinces, the Afghan Foreign Minister said. He reminded about the regional foreign ministers meeting in the western province of Herat last year. The Islamic world’s foreign ministers meeting will be held in Jalalabad. “Fortunately, the reports that we do not control a large part of the territory are baseless,” the Afghan Foreign Minister said.

Afghan Foreign Minister described as multi-vector the policy pursued by his country. “We believe that cooperation with one country will not harm promoting relations with other countries,” Mr. Spanta said.


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