Meeting begins, agenda unveiled
BONN (PAN): The second Bonn Conference on Afghanistan’s future, being attended by representatives from more than 115 countries and international organisations, was opened by the German foreign minister on Monday.
The Afghan-led gathering began with a speech from Guido Westerwelle at 10am (1:35pm Kabul time), and will continue until 4:30pm, according to the meeting agenda received by Pajhwok Afghan News.
After the host minister's address, President Hamid Karzai will speak to the delegates on his vision for Afghanistan during security transition and beyond 2014, when all foreign troops are scheduled to leave the country.
Before Afghan Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmai Rassoul's address, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will deliver a speech to the delegates, an organiser said. At 10.45am, the participants are to be photographed.
At 11am, the first Afghan working group will give its report for an hour and 15 minutes. After the lunch break, the second and third groups will detail their work until 4.30pm. Concluding remarks, lasting 15 minutes, will be made at 4.45pm.
At the end of the day-long meeting, Afghan and German foreign ministers will announce the outcome and decisions at a joint news briefing at 5.15pm.
The picturesque venue, a centre for conferences near the German parliament building, had hosted the first meeting on Afghanistan after the collapse of the Taliban regime in December 2001. A transitional authority, headed by Karzai, was set up in the wake of the moot.
Eight more conferences on Afghanistan have since been organised. The International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan was held, at a ministerial level, on Jan. 21-22, 2002 in Tokyo with the participation of the Chairman of the Afghan Interim Administration, Hamid Karzai and other representatives of the Administration.
Japan, the US, the EU and Saudi Arabia were co-chairs of the conference, where donor countries announced $4.5 billion in assistance to Afghanistan.
Later, a similar event was held in Berlin on March 31 - April 1, 2004, in which $8.5 billion assistance was pledged, while id="mce_marker"05 billion were announced at the London Conference in 2006. In June, 2007, $730 million help was announced at the Rome Conference and $21 billion at the Paris Conference in June 2008.
In March 2009, the situation in Afghanistan was discussed at the Hague Conference. In January 2010, $33 billion aid was pledged at the second London Conference. On July 20, 2010, the Kabul moot gave the go-ahead to security transition, discussing key infrastructure projects and mine extraction.
In an interview with Der Spiegel weekly, Karzai blamed Pakistan for undermining his government's negotiations with the militants. "Up until now, they have sadly refused to back efforts for negotiations with the Taliban."
Urging continued global aid to his nation beyond 2014, the president warned: "If we fail in this war, which threatens all of us, it will mean a return to the situation before 9/11."
He went on to acknowledge the security situation remained far from satisfactory. "Sadly we have not been able to provide security and stability to all Afghans -- this is our greatest failure."
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