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Foreign Minister Spanta Receives Representatives from the U.S., Australia and the Netherlands

On November 8, Dr. Spanta received visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher. They discussed NATO expansion, regional cooperation and the upcoming Afghanistan-US Strategic Partnership Dialogue. The Foreign Minister briefed Secretary Boucher on the Jirgas to be convened in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which were proposed by President Karzai during a recent trilateral dinner with President Bush and President Musharraf of Pakistan. Jirgas are meeting of Tribal elders that have been used in the region for centuries to resolve problems through consultation and consensus. The leadership of both countries hope to use tradition and tribal leadership to fight extremism in Pakistan and terrorism in Afghanistan. Mr. Boucher briefed Dr. Spanta of his recent visit to Islamabad and reassured the Foreign Minister of the US’ long-term commitment to rebuild Afghanistan.

History was made on November 5, as Dr. Spanta received the first Australian ambassador to Afghanistan, Mr. Brett Hackett. Dr. Spanta expressed his pleasure that bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Australia continue to improve, and emphasized that Australia’s decision to open its embassy in Kabul is a sign of the international community’s steadfast commitment to the mission in Afghanistan.

Prior to his meeting with the Australian Ambassador, Dr. Spanta held a joint press conference with visiting Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot. Dr. Spanta thanked the firm commitment of the Dutch Government and people to stabilize and rebuild Afghanistan. The Foreign Minister highlighted the sacrifice and bravery of Dutch soldiers fighting against the forces of terror and extremism in the southern province of Uruzgan. Dr. Spanta also expressed his appreciation for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ assistance in training Afghan diplomats. On his part the Dutch Minister reiterated Dutch’s resolve to remain fully engaged with Afghanistan. He also referred to his forthcoming visit to Pakistan, where he is going to press Pakistan to stop the infiltration of militants into Afghanistan. Both ministers also responded to questions by Afghan and foreign journalists.

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