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Schroeder, Karzai to meet

Published on 26/03/2004

26 March 2004

BERLIN – German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will be meeting Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai on 30 March a day before the third international Afghanistan conference starts in Berlin, government officials said.

Government spokesman Thomas Steg said the talks in the chancellery office will concern the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan and issues about the German military forces mission in the country.

The talks will preceded the two-day third international conference in Berlin which a senior government official said would focus on fighting illegal drugs, boosting security and raising fresh international financial aid.

The Berlin Afghan conference 31 March and 1 April – to be attended by Karzai and 65 state and NGO delegations – is a follow-up to rebuilding conferences held in Bonn in 2001 and 2002 after the US- led held military intervention ended Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

In an interview with the Financial Times, German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said she expected pledges at next week’s Afghan conference to fall short of the USD28 billion (EUR23 billion) over seven years sought by the Karzai government in Kabul.

She told the newspaper that Afghanistan had to be “realistic” about the financial pledges and that funds would likely be only committed for four years.

[Copyright DPA with Expatica]

Subject: German news