The Chinese government has decided to provide 30 million yuan (about $US3.6 million ) for urgent humanitarian aid to the interim government of Afghanistan, Chinese President Jiang Zemin said Thursday in Beijing.
Jiang announced the decision during his official talks with visiting Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
On the Afghan issue, Jiang said that all sects in Afghanistan have agreed to form an interim government with the assistance of the United Nations.
The establishment of the interim government, due to be officially announced in two days, marked the beginning of Afghanistan's march towards peace and stability after years of war, he said.
"China sincerely hopes all parties in Afghanistan will give priority to the country's needs and to peace, firmly implementing the agreement, and acting towards national reconciliation so as to restore peace and tranquility to the country as soon as possible," he said.
The Chinese president said that the destiny of Afghanistan should eventually be in the hands of the Afghan people. In the meantime, any political solution to the Afghan issue should include the role of the United Nations, he said.
As an important neighboring state of Pakistan, Jiang said, China also supports the active role played by Pakistan towards the peace process in Afghanistan.
Jiang said that China has provided assistance to Afghanistan via the UN over the past years. As the situation in the country returns to normal, China will also participate in its post-war reconstruction.
Musharraf agreed with Jiang's analysis on the current international situation. He said that Pakistan was satisfied with the Bonn agreement on the Afghan issue and hoped military operations in Afghanistan be ended as soon as possible.
He said that it is imperative to resolve the refugee problem and ensure the interim government has full power. Only by doing this can a balanced representation of different ethnic groups in the transitional government work together for six months. And Pakistan sincerely hoped Afghanistan achieve national reconciliation and lasting peace, he added.
Meantime, China voiced its hope that the new UN Security Council resolution will be conducive to peace and stability in the war-torn Afghanistan.
Shen Guofang, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, made the statement just after the council unanimously adopted a resolution to authorize the deployment of a multinational force to help keep peace in the Afghan capital of Kabul.
"We support the resolution, and we hope that it will help promote stability in Afghanistan," he said.
The draft resolution was put to vote after consensus was reached by the five permanent members of the 15-nation council in the wake of several rounds of consultations, he said.
The five permanent members, which have veto power on the council, are China, Britain, France, Russia and the United States.
"During the consultations, we stressed that the purpose of the UN Charter should be observed and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan be safeguarded," he said.
"We maintain that the Afghan problems should be solved ultimately by Afghans themselves," he said, adding that the other UN organs should also be involved in the reconstruction of Afghanistan once the situation in the country is stabilized.
The Security Council Thursday voted 15-0 to authorize the deployment of the multinational force to provide security, initially just in the Kabul and the surrounding areas, with Britain leading the peace-keeping troops.
The Security Council measure followed the agreement signed by four Afghan factions in Bonn, Germany, on December 5 to establish an interim government.
The Chinese government will send diplomats to attend a meeting on rebuilding Afghanistan, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue Thursday afternoon at a regular press conference.
She said that a meeting on the rebuilding of Afghanistan will be held from December 20 to 21 in Belgium. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the meeting, and a delegation headed by Wang Xuexian, an ambassador of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in charge of Afghan affairs will attend the meeting.
Zhang said that the Afghan interim government will be established with the joint efforts of all parties in Afghanistan, which is an important step towards peace for this country.
She added that rebuilding Afghanistan will help guarantee the peace process of the country, and the international community should make an effort in this area.
The spokeswoman said that the Chinese and the Afghans have enjoyed a long friendship, and China has provided assistance to Afghanistan within its capabilities.
She promised that China would continue to offer Afghanistan humanitarian assistance, and would take an active part in rebuilding Afghanistan.
On the peace-keeping operation in Afghanistan, Zhang said that the United Nations Security Council is discussing a resolution to send multi-national troops to Afghanistan. China supports this as it will help safeguard the stability of the nation.
China will not join the multi-national troops, but will make its own efforts to help Afghanistan finally achieve peace, she added.
A group of Chinese diplomats, led by senior official Zhang Min, on Wednesday arrived at Bagram air base, about 50 kilometers north of the Afghan capital of Kabul.
The advance group Thursday visited foreign ministry of the newly-formed Afghan interim government and held talks with Afghan Foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.
Abdullah welcomed the Chinese diplomats and expressed his thankfulness to the Chinese government for its continuous support in the Afghan post-war reconstruction and rehabilitation.
He highly appreciated the historical friendship between the two countries and hoped the relationship of the two countries could be further developed.
Zhang Min recalled the history of the Sino-Afghan relationship, saying that 2000 years ago, renowned Chinese traveler Zhang Qian visited Bactria area where modern Afghanistan is located.
He said China supports the newly-formed Afghan interim government and will do its best to take an active part in the reconstruction of Afghanistan as well as continue to provide humanitarian aid to Afghan refugees.
(People’s Daily December 21, 2001)