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China to help build Kunar hydropower plant

China to help build Kunar hydropower plant

Feb 10, 2015 - 23:37

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): China has promised to help build a hydroelectric power plant in eastern Kunar province, as well as road and rail links to Pakistaninfo-icon, officials said on Tuesday.

Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman, Sirajul Haq Siraj, told the media the assistance would include an unspecified amount of financing. A day earlier, senior Afghan, Chinese and Pakistani diplomats met in Kabul.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that China agreed to support relevant initiatives for projects including the Kunar hydropower plant and strengthening road and rail connections between Afghanistaninfo-icon and Pakistan.

The planned 1,500 megawatt dam on the Kunar River was previously supported only by Pakistan, which could buy some of the electricity it generates.

In 2013, Pakistan said it would also build a motorway connecting the Pakistani city of Peshawar to Kabul, as well as a railway line from Chaman to southeastern Afghan city of Kandahar.

China's involvement could speed up work on these projects. Siraj said the amount of Chinese financing for the dam and other projects would be decided in later trilateral meetings.

At the meeting, the diplomats also discussed ways to bring Talibaninfo-icon militants to the negotiating table, following a Chinese proposal late last year for a “peace and reconciliation” forum.

“The three sides resolved to make concerted efforts in maintaining peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Pakistan said in a statement.

China has growing interests in Afghanistan, which offers a possible route to the sea from China's landlocked west.

China wants the country to be stable, both to help it exploit mineral resources and to weaken militants it says operate in the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang, which borders both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

PANinfo-icon Monitor/ma


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