Xi offers cooperation to Afghanistan to fight terror
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Last Updated: Saturday, February 08, 2014, 19:24
  
Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping has offered to step up cooperation with Afghanistan to fight terrorism, saying the war-torn country's fate will be more closely linked with the region after US troops withdraw.

China is ready to strengthen cooperation with Afghanistan in fighting the "three evil forces" of separatism, extremism and terrorism as well as trans-national crimes, Xi told Afghan President Hamid Karzai during their meeting on the sidelines of the winter Olympic Games at Sochi yesterday.

"The fate of Afghanistan will be more closely linked with that of the region after 2014, and China supports Afghanistan's integration into regional economic cooperation," Xi was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

Noting that 2014 is a critical year for Afghanistan because US and NATO troops are set to withdraw, he conveyed the hope that Kabul will hold smooth presidential elections, achieve a stable transition and realise lasting stability and prosperity.

He said China will unswervingly support Afghanistan's efforts in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and back an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national reconciliation process.

China, which is fighting a separatist movement in Uygur Muslim majority Xinjiang province bordering Afghanistan, has expressed concern over the likely return of Taliban and Al Qaeda once international troops pull out of Afghanistan.

Beijing accuses the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) of fomenting a separatist movement by taking advantage of Uygur unrest over increasing settlements of the Han community in Xinjiang.

China has held talks with India, Russia and Pakistan on the fallout in Afghanistan after foreign troops withdraw.

During his talks with Karzai, Xi offered continued aid for Afghanistan's peaceful reconstruction, especially in personnel training, and encouraged Chinese companies to invest in that country.

At the same time, he asked Kabul to create a safe environment for bilateral cooperation.

As China will host the fourth ministerial meeting of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan, Beijing is ready to closely cooperate with Kabul to guarantee the success of the event, he added.

China, Xi said, is also ready to push the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to play a bigger role in the Afghan issue.

PTI

First Published: Saturday, February 08, 2014, 19:24


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