G-8 to mitigate economic impact of transition
WASHINGTON (PAN): On eve of the crucial NATO Summit in Chicago, leaders of G-8 nations on Saturday committed themselves to steps to mitigate the economic impact of transition as international forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014.
“Tomorrow we begin our NATO summit in my hometown of Chicago, where we’ll discuss our plans to responsibly end the war in Afghanistan,” US President Barack Obama said after the two-day G-8 summit in Camp David.
In their Camp David Declaration, leaders of the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to a sovereign, peaceful and stable Afghanistan, with full ownership of its own security, governance and development and free of terrorism, extremist violence, and illicit drug production and trafficking.
“We will continue to support the transition process with close coordination of our security, political and economic strategies,” the declaration said.
With an emphasis on mutual accountability and improved governance, G-8 countries promised help enhance Afghan capacity to increase fiscal revenues and improve spending management, as well as mobilising non-security assistance into the transformation decade.
The leaders vowed to support the growth of Afghan civil society and mobilise private sector support by strengthening the enabling environment and expanding business opportunities in key sectors, as well as promoting regional economic cooperation to enhance connectivity.
Looking forward to the Tokyo Conference in July, which will generate further long-term civilian assistance to Afghanistan into the transformation decade, they agreed to a strategy for Afghanistan’s sustainable economic development, with mutual commitments and benchmarks.
Later in the day, Obama met German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “They focused on the three areas that will be the focus of the ISAF meeting in Afghanistan, and that is transition in which ISAF moves into a support role in 2013 on the way to a full transition to Afghan lead in 2014.
“And they also discussed the Afghan National Security Forces and the enduring support that NATO will provide to the ANSF as well as the Afghan government,” Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters.
Germany has recently announced significant long-term support for the ANSF of 150 million euros on the other side of 2014. “So that’s an important contribution to the future of sustainment of Afghan security forces and that have reached a similar agreement with Afghanistan as our SPA, in terms of a strategic partnership with Afghanistan beyond 2014,” he said.
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