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UPDATED: 10:58, November 12, 2006
Italy proposes international conference on Afghanistan
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Visiting Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema proposed Kabul on Saturday an international conference on Afghanistan be held to seek more support for this post-Taliban nation.

At a joint press conference with his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta, D'Alema said "We feel the need of holding an international conference, during which the problems of terrorism, narcotics and reconstruction in Afghanistan should be discussed."

D'Alema brought forward this idea amid increasing militancy in this country, particularly in the southern and eastern regions and record opium production this year.

Such a conference, he added, would provide an important opportunity to discuss the achievements and problems in Afghanistan.

However, he did not suggest the time and place of the conference.

The Italian top diplomat stressed military actions alone cannot solve all problems in Afghanistan. "The international community ought to give more weight to non-military solutions in political and economic fields."

It would be the 4th international conference on Afghanistan if accepted by the world community.

Previously, donor nations had contributed billions of U.S. dollars to Afghanistan at international conferences in Tokyo, Berlin and London in the past five years.

Meanwhile, D'Alema ruled out the possible withdrawal of Italian forces from Afghanistan, saying "Italy wants to stay in Afghanistan to help support the anti-terror war and boost reconstruction activities."

Spanta said Kabul accepted Rome's proposal for holding a international conference on Afghanistan.

About 1,700 Italian troops are serving in Afghanistan as part of NATO forces, with the majority in Kabul and the western Herat province.

Source: Xinhua

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