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Foreign Minister Spanta Meets with French and Canadian Counterparts  

Foreign Minister Dr. Rangeen Dadfar Spanta met with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Canadian Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier during their April 12-13 visit to Afghanistan.

The three Ministers discussed the security situation, the pace of reconstruction, and the upcoming donors’ conference in Paris. Minister Spanta told journalists that the donors’ conference would be an opportunity to assess the international mission in Afghanistan in its entirety, "to look at it from a political perspective and to assess our achievements, and also strengthen our strategic partnership to fight against terrorism and counter narcotics."

Foreign Minister Spanta thanked Foreign Minister Kouchner for the recent French pledge to increase military forces in Afghanistan and expressed his continued gratitude to the Canadian government for its long term support and many sacrifices in defense of the Afghan people. “The main enemy of international terrorist networks in this part of the world is democracy and human rights,” said Minister Spanta.

During his visit, Foreign Minister Kouchner said that Taliban violence in Afghanistan could only be stopped with the aid of Pakistan. "Further military means are needed in order for the process of securing Afghanistan to proceed... but there must also be a regional view, particularly with regards to neighbouring Pakistan," Kouchner said.

The foreign ministers also met with President Hamid Karzai and other government officials, toured construction projects in Kabul, and visited a NATO air base in the southern province of Kandahar, where both countries have troops deployed in the fight against terrorism.

Canada has around 2,500 troops in southern Afghanistan. France earlier this month pledged to nearly double the number of its forces in Afghanistan to 3,000. It currently has about 1,600 soldiers in Afghanistan, including an air force contingent in the southern region.
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