Russian Foreign Minister: Iraq Situation Can Influence Developments in Afghanistan

The Russian Foreign Minister deems fears voiced by Hamid Karzai to be well-grounded. In particular, the Afghan leader is concerned that the military operation against Iraq can lead to even more intensive radicalisation of certain Islamic extremist circles which operate in Afghanistan and from the neighbouring states against the present interim administration of Afghanistan.

Ivanov stated this at a meeting with special envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi.

In Ivanov's opinion, "the development of the situation around Iraq directly or indirectly influences or can influence developments in Afghanistan".

Of late, due to the efforts of the provisional leadership of Afghanistan and the international support, as well as with the personal participation of Lakhdar Brahimi, much has been done in Afghanistan, Ivanov noted. At the same time, as the head of Russia's foreign ministry stressed, it is clear that the country is only at the beginning of the complex and long rehabilitation.

The Minister noted that he had "recently visited Kabul where he met with Hamid Karzai, as well as with other representatives of the interim Afghan government".

According to Ivanov, he stressed at the meeting with them that, despite the complex development of the situation around Iraq, "we must not forget that there are other problems requiring close attention of the international community, including the situation around Afghanistan".