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Visiting Australian PM assures Afghanistan continued support
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09:27, December 23, 2007

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Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who was on an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Saturday, assured Afghanistan continued support.

He made the remarks while addressing a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai following their meeting here in the afternoon.

This is Rudd's first visit to the Central Asian country since he assumed the premiership earlier this month.

"We have troops commitment here," Rudd said, "I confirm that with Afghanistan our commitment remained."

Both leaders have exchanged views on matters pertaining mutual interest including war on terror and reconstruction.

During the meeting, the Australian prime minister announced a 110 million U.S. dollars assistance to the war-torn country, bringing the contribution of Canberra to Afghanistan to a total of260 million U.S. dollars.

For his part, Afghan President Karzai thanked the Australian government and its people for their support to the rebuilding of the post-Taliban nation.

Most of the around 900 Australian troops serving with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force are stationed in the troubled Uruzgan province of southern Afghanistan. Rudd has visited the troops from his country earlier Saturday before meeting Karzai in Kabul, according to officials.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Afghanistan and held meeting with Karzai earlier on Saturday morning while Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi is expected to visit the war-ravaged country on Sunday.

Source: Xinhua

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