(No. 229 - July 20, 2010 - 9:40 a.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement on the conclusion of his successful visit to Afghanistan, where he participated in the Kabul International Conference on Afghanistan:
“The Kabul International Conference on Afghanistan was the first conference of its kind to be organized by the Government of Afghanistan. The impressive number of participants sends a strong message to the people of Afghanistan that the commitment of the international community toward their country has not wavered.
“Canada, along with the more than 75 other countries and international organizations at the Conference, expressed continued support for the Government of Afghanistan’s Kabul Process. The Kabul Process stems from clear commitments President Hamid Karzai made, in both his November 2009 inaugural speech and at the January 2010 London Conference, on security, governance, fighting corruption, protecting human rights, enacting electoral reform and improving the delivery of basic services to the people of Afghanistan.
“When G-8 foreign ministers met in Gatineau, Quebec, this past March in advance of the Muskoka Summit, we reaffirmed our collective commitment to supporting Afghanistan on its path to peace and stability. We called upon Afghanistan to take concrete action on its London Conference commitments. Today, we have seen the efforts made by the Government of Afghanistan to respond to that call.
“During the Kabul Conference, the importance of regional cooperation was often raised. This past March, I was pleased to launch the G-8 Afghanistan Pakistan Border Region Prosperity Initiative. Canada will continue to take a leadership role on regional cooperation, through the G-8 Initiative and the Dubai Process.
“Introduced and facilitated by Canada, but led by Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Dubai Process is another example of what can be accomplished when two countries agree to coordinate in crucial areas such as customs and counter-narcotics efforts. To that effect, I am also pleased to announce that Canada will allocate $2.2 million to targeted counter-narcotics projects within the Dubai Process. Canada has made border security one of its priorities in Afghanistan, and has earmarked funding of up to $32 million until 2011 to support it.
“The Conference also marked an important step toward the goal, shared by the Government of Afghanistan and the international community, of a transition to Afghan leadership on security responsibility. The peaceful manner in which the Conference took place demonstrates to the people of Afghanistan that the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces to carry out successful security operations is strengthening and that the transition of security responsibility to Afghan leadership is achievable.
“Canada, along with the international community, has been investing in building the capacity of the Government of Afghanistan—in its civil service, its security forces and its institutions. Today’s conference is an example of the results of our investment and the growing capacity of the Afghan government. Canada will continue to support the government and the people of Afghanistan through key programs that have demonstrated success, such as the National Solidarity Program and investments in education.
“We look forward to the implementation of the next steps presented by the Government of Afghanistan today as part of the ongoing Kabul Process. Canada remains committed to the people of Afghanistan and to seeing Afghanistan emerge as a safe, stable and prosperous society.”
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