Strategic cooperation pact inked with Italy
Karzai left Kabul for the United Kingdom on a five-day trip on Tuesday. He is also to ink a strategic partnership agreement on long-term cooperation with France.
The Presidential Palace said the Italian government would support Afghanistan beyond 2014 after the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country in the areas of security, economy, counternarcotics and implementation of the constitution, as well as capacity building.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Karzai after the signing ceremony, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said: "Inking the strategic cooperation agreement with Afghanistan is the core of our future cooperation with that country."
On Thursday Karzai said at a meeting with his Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano: "We are pleased to sign a long-term strategic partnership agreement and appreciate the aid and scarifies of Italian soldiers for Afghanistan's stability."
"It is a time of pride for me to sign a strategic pact with the friendly country," the statement quoted Karzai as saying.
Italy could also invest in extraction of mines in Afghanistan under the long-term agreement, according to the president, who is scheduled to leave for France to sign a similar accord.
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