EU aid summit pledges $1.35 bn to help Afghanistan

Brussels, Oct 5 (IANS) A European Union (EU) donors conference — which was attended by over 70 countries, including India, and some 20 international organisations — held in Brussels pledged $1.35 billion on Wednesday in support of the Afghanistan democracy and stability process, an official said.

EU foreign policy representative Federica Mogherini said the grouping expected a similar level of contribution from other overseas partners, Efe news reported.

“We hope to obtain worldwide pledges, similar to the level the world has given up till now,” Mogherini said on her arrival at the conference.

The Italian politician said she was confident the international community would back the initiative “not only with words but also with financial aid.”

Mogherini said she expected there would be no donor fatigue among the Afghanistan aid partners.

Mogherini on Tuesday spoke with the ministers of key regional partners such as China, India or Pakistan as well as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The aim of the talks was to work towards a “regional common platform supporting the Afghan peace and reconciliation process,” she said.

“The reason the International Community is here today, around 199 delegations, is to support Afghanistan for the benefit of the Afghan population, regional and international security,” she said.

Mogherini said an investment in Afghanistan’s security and the country’s success was also an investment “in our own security.”

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said it was important to send a strong message of support to Afghanistan.

He said Afghan authorities were undertaking an impressive reform to change the Afghan people’s lifestyle after experiencing political, social and financial difficulties, plus terrorism and extremism.

Ban pldged UN support to Afghanistan.

–IANS

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