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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

SCO can play 'bigger role' in Afghanistan

By Zhang Haizhou  (China Daily)

09:05, December 06, 2011

BONN, Germany - China wants the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to play a bigger role in Afghanistan's peace and reconstruction process, said Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

Yang made the call in his speech at the International Afghanistan Conference in the German city of Bonn on Monday, where he also pledged that China would continue to "take concrete steps" to help Afghanistan.

"The role of the SCO and other existing international organizations in the cooperation mechanisms should be brought into full play," Yang said.

"Peace and stability in Afghanistan is crucial to the peace and stability of the region and beyond."

This is by far the clearest and strongest message from China for a bigger role for the SCO in Afghanistan, compared to previous official statements which called for the SCO to "offer help" to Afghanistan's peace and reconstruction.

The Bonn conference focused on the transfer of security responsibilities from international forces to Afghan security forces during the next three years, the long-term prospects for international aid and a possible political settlement with the Taliban.

As most of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is due to leave Afghanistan in 2014, the Afghan National Army will assume responsibility for the fight against the insurgents, mainly based in south of the country and in areas bordering Pakistan.

Asking the international community to "firmly support" an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of peace and reconstruction, Yang said the United Nations should "continue to play a leading role in coordinating international assistance to Afghanistan.

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