Sun, Jun

Peace a key foreign policy goal: President

President-Ghani-3President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on Saturday called peace in the country as a national goal, saying that dealing with the challenge of enforcing stability had not been easy.
Addressing a press conference in Kabul on his return from China, the president said Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China and other regional countries were supportive of efforts for peace in Afghanistan. The level of cooperation from Islamabad with peace endeavours would become known in coming weeks, when a number of senior Pakistani officials would visit Afghanistan, Ahmadzai told a questioner. “Preparations for my official trip to Pakistan are underway. I’m all for short, mid and long-term steps toward peace within a coherent plan of action,” the president added. He remarked achieving peace was not easy, but compulsory. The objective could have been realised years ago if it had been undemanding. The government's foreign policy set great store by restoring peace, he continued.
The president said Afghanistan desired sincere ties with its neighbours, regional countries, global friends and institutions. No one would be allowed to use Afghan soil against others.
Defending his stand on calling Taliban political foes, Ahmadzai said people having a problem with the system or political differences eventually resorted to armed opposition, which needed to be resolved.
He hailed his four-day China visit as a success involving dialogue on the future of Asia and the world at large. Ahmadzai said China had pledged aid worth 500 million yuan this year and 1.5 billion yuan in three years.
Afghan students would be offered thousands of scholarships for higher education in coming years, he noted. The president said Chinese officials had assured to assist Afghan traders in doing business there.
He stressed the creation of an investment-friendly environment, hoping reforms in the judicial and legal system would help attract foreign entrepreneurs to Afghanistan.
He said changes in the Supreme Court had been witnessed and with the appointment of two new judges the judiciary would be strengthened.
With regard to the Kabul Bank scandal, he said they had decided at a meeting with top bankers that strict measures would be taken to reform the sector. The government was pursuing the case seriously, he maintained.
A plan for the construction of infrastructure and basic developmental projects was being devised, he said, adding the move would ensure uniform development of all parts of the country.
He hoped the members of parliament would agree with his suggestion to increase the duration of budget from one year to three years to strengthen small businesses and encourage investment.
He praised assistance from the Saudi government to Afghanistan, saying that around 300,000 Afghan nationals had been working in that country.
The president said the priority of the unity government was to help resolve the issues of immigrants. The government would honour the promises held out to the masses, he concluded.