Russia ready to help strengthen Afghanistan's security

Russia is ready to assist Afghanistan where its internal and external security is concerned, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told an international summit in New York, which had gathered to discuss Afghanistan.

Ivanov said that in 2003 alone, Russia's free aid to the newly created Afghan army and law enforcing agencies amounted to more than 50 million dollars. Moscow took special pains to develop trade and economic links and create favorable conditions for Afghan business in Russia, he added.

The sooner Kabul dealt with old bilateral debt liabilities the more active Russia would be in investing its budget resources in Afghan economic programs, Ivanov stressed.

He also said Russia was still willing to cooperate with Afghan donors when it came to projects involving Russian technological experience and resources.

In conclusion, the minister declared the Afghan transitional administration headed by Hamid Karzai could rely on Russia's support.

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