According to the Information and Press Department of the MFA of Russia, Head of the Russian foreign policy department Sergey Lavrov spoke at the at joint press conference following talks with his Afghan colleague Rangin Dadfar Spanta.
Russian Foreign Minister emphasized that the “talks are taking place at a very significant moment for Russian-Afghan relations. This month marks 90 years since Russia recognized Afghanistan’s independence, and two months from now the 90th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries will be observed.” And today, according to Lavrov, the desire for greater friendship and cooperation, as well as mutual respect and support prevail in the two countries’ relations.
“We advocate intensifying the international economic and social rehabilitation efforts in Afghanistan. Russia contributes concretely to these efforts. Over 140 industry, energy, infrastructure, transport and communications plants are built in Afghanistan with the aid of our country. Russia made a major contribution to forming the defense potential of Afghanistan. Today our experts and companies are working in projects to modernize Naglu HPP and to build several mini-hydros here,” said Sergey Lavrov.
According to Russian Foreign Minister, Moscow is planning to render education assistance to Afghanistan, restore Kabul Polytechnic University, increase the number of scholarships that are allocated to Afghanistan to train its citizens in Russia’s universities and colleges, train law enforcement specialists, and provide humanitarian aid to the Afghan people.
“We are unanimous with our Afghan friends and with the entire world community that terrorism, drug trafficking and the related organized crime are the chief obstacle to Afghanistan’s peaceful, constructive development. These threats create problems for this and other regions of the world,” Lavrov noted. “Today we took an important step towards further increasing the effectiveness of the fight against these threats by signing an agreement between the Russian Federation and Afghanistan to combat illicit trade of narcotic drugs.”
Lavrov underlined that the Russian party attaches great significance to the upcoming conference on March 27 in Moscow under the aegis of the SCO on countering the terrorist and narco-threat in this region. Therewith the Russian diplomat expressed gratitude to Rangin Dadfar Spanta for his consent to participate in this event. Furthermore, Sergey Lavrov invited the Afghan Minister to make a reciprocal visit to the Russian Federation.
In answer to a question about possible participation of Russia in resolving the situation in the region, the Russian Minister noted that Moscow is interested in raising the effectiveness of international efforts to resolve the situation in and around Afghanistan.
“We are also ready to discuss extra measures,” said Sergey Lavrov. “We actively support involving in these efforts all of Afghanistan’s neighbors without exception. In particular, all countries adjoining Afghanistan, including the Central Asian states, Iran and Pakistan are invited to the Moscow Conference. We consider this to be very important and want all these countries to be further involved in the world community efforts of support for Afghanistan in solving its problems. We also welcome the dialogue that is evolving between Afghanistan and Iran and between Afghanistan and Pakistan”.
Regarding possible sending Russian troops to Afghanistan Sergey Lavrov noted that the international community did not address such a request to the Russian Federation. “Such actions are not being planned. We want the international contingents already here to act in full agreement with the leadership of Afghanistan, their legal status within the territory of this country to be properly formalized and all of their activities to be directed at the soonest eradication of the terrorist and narcotic threats in and around Afghanistan. The success of their mission in Afghanistan will help reduce the acuteness of these threats outside it. Apart from sending troops to Afghanistan, there are many other concrete practical measures aimed at solving the problems of this country. Russia will actively participate in carrying them out. In so doing we will take into account the position of the Government of Afghanistan urging the international community to pay more attention to the socioeconomic reconstruction of the country, the training of national personnel and the strengthening of government structures,” the Head of the Russian diplomatic apparatus underlined.
“As to the situation inside Afghanistan, this is primarily an internal matter of the Afghans themselves. For our part we want this situation to evolve constructively and give no occasion for extremists to try and undermine the positive tendencies and especially the election process now unfolding in Afghanistan. We expect the executive and legislative branches of Afghanistan to do everything to prevent such destabilization,” Lavrov noted.
According to Sergey Lavrov, the chief conclusion from the talks is that Russia and Afghanistan are disposed to further strengthen friendship and develop our cooperation in all fields.