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Karzai to Visit China Following Tokyo Parley

The International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan opened Monday morning at Pamir Hotel in Tokyo.

The two-day conference, co-chaired by Japan, the United States,Saudi Arabia, and European Union, is participated by leaders and representatives from 66 countries and 22 international organizations.

The conference is expected to collect billions of dollars to rebuild the war-ravaged Afghanistan.

Hamid Karzai, chairman of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan, will lead a delegation to visit China after attending a two-day International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan, which starts Monday.

Leaders of the two countries will talk about all bilateral and regional issues that are of "interest and importance" to both sides, said Samad in an interview with Chinadaily. "We will embark on this new relationship based on a new set of principles that will benefit both countries," he said.

Afghan Deputy-Chairman of the Interim Government Mohammad Mohaqiq said here Sunday that an amount of US$30 billion is needed for the reconstruction of his war-ravaged country.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Mohaqiq, who is also minister of planning in the interim government led by Hamid Karzai, said, "we expect that the international community will help Afghanistan in its reconstruction process with donations as more as possible as the country has been devastated by different wars during the past 23 years."

He said that the interim government is facing urgent needs of funds to get the government running. After the ministries were formed last December, he said, the government found itself even lack of money to pay the salaries of government employees.

However, he gave the priority to the rehabilitation plan for more than five million Afghan refugees abroad who should return to their homeland once peace is holding. He said within two years not only the refugees abroad should be resettled, but also those inside the country that their homes have been destroyed by the wars.

He said that revitalization of agriculture, small industries and education are also among the priorities of the reconstruction plan of the interim government if enough fund is available.

He emphasized that the international aid is absolutely urgent, but if the world could not come up to the expectations of the Afghans, they would also try their best to stand on their own feet.

He said that representatives from different political groups in the interim government are cooperating well and closely without any confrontations except quarrels over implementation of some development plans as all ministries try to get more fund for their own.

Mohaqiq is one of the ministers in the Afghan team led by Chairman Karzai to attend the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan scheduled for January 21-22. More than 60 countries and 21 international organizations are to participate in the gathering. About 50 billion dollars are supposed to be collected from donor countries during the conference for the Afghan reconstruction plan.

(People’s Daily January 21, 2002)

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