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Chinese FM Affirms Progress in Afghan Restoration

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said in Berlin Wednesday that Afghanistan has made progress in rebuilding the country under the Bonn Agreement.  

"From the interim government to the present transitional one, from the Emergency Loya Jirga to the present constitutional body, from the adoption of the constitution to the upcoming elections, the Bonn process is well organized," Li said at an international conference on Afghanistan, opened here Wednesday to assess progress in Afghan reconstruction and gather more aid for the war-torn country.


The Bonn process was launched at a similar international conference on Afghanistan's reconstruction in November 2001.


Li stressed that an early and proper solution to the Afghan issue is important to regional stability and development.


"The Bonn process is a development path that would fit the national conditions of Afghanistan," Li said. "If the situation takes a turn for the worse, it is the Afghan people that will suffer."


Li pointed out that Afghanistan still has many challenges ahead, among them "insecurity, ethnic and factional disputes, slow economic reconstruction and diminishing international attention are all the more challenging."


He urged both the Afghan people and the international community to "maintain the spirit of the Bonn process" and "continue our efforts along such path."


Unity is the key to peace in Afghanistan, and independence is also important for the Afghan people, Li said, adding that "Afghanistan's national situation and the choices of the Afghan people should be respected."


"The top task is to establish a broadly based and representative government, which accommodates the interests of all ethnic groups through free and fair elections," he emphasized.


Coordination is another guarantee for peace in Afghanistan, he said. A unique feature of the Bonn process is the partnership between the Afghan government and the international community, Li said.


"Continued support should be given to the Bonn process and commitments should be honored in order to achieve more concrete results," he said.


Li reiterated China's support for the role of the United Nations in the Bonn process and said that China would always be a friend of the Afghan people.


"The Afghans can always find a trustworthy neighbor and a friend. That is China and the Chinese people," the minister said.


About 700 delegates from 56 countries and numerous international organizations, including the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, are attending the two-day conference in Berlin.


The previous two conferences of this kind were both held in Bonn, in 2001 and 2002 respectively.


(Xinhua News Agency April 1, 2004)

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