France pledges more cash for Afghanistan

12th February 2004, Comments 0 comments

KABUL, Feb 12 (AFP) - France will boost financial support to Afghanistan and wants to play a bigger role in rebuilding the war-shattered country, French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin said during a stop-over here Thursday.

KABUL, Feb 12 (AFP) - France will boost financial support to Afghanistan and wants to play a bigger role in rebuilding the war-shattered country, French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin said during a stop-over here Thursday.

Speaking after talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and counterpart Abdullah Abdullah, De Villepin said France wanted Eurocorps forces to eventually take control of NATO-led international peacekeepers.

"France is committed at the heart of ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) with 550 men, and is equally committed in the fight against terrorism but we would like to do more" De Villepin said.

"That is why we have asked that the Eurocorps takes over command of ISAF from Canadian forces," added de Villepin, who will head to India later Thursday.

Eurocorps  made up of troops from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain  is expected to take over ISAF later this year.

ISAF is a 6,500-strong force presently under NATO command and is responsible for helping Afghan authorities maintain security in Kabul. Late last year ISAF's brief was extended to outside of the capital.

De Villepin said after his talks with Karzai that France would make Afghanistan a priority for financial assistance in future.

"Above and beyond our support for democracy and peace, we will intensify our co-operation with Afghanistan," he said.

"We want to increase our financial assistance to Afghanistan and we will be making it a priority case which will allow the French development agency to act in the country."

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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