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Landmark Economic Conference Opens in Afghanistan

VOA News

Delegates from 10 nations are meeting in Afghanistan's capital for a landmark economic conference - the first such meeting there in two decades.

On Sunday, Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai opened the two-day conference promising to do everything possible to re-establish Afghanistan as a regional trading partner, open borders, and improve infrastructure. Mr. Karzai recalled his country's historic role as a major overland trading route along the Silk Road.

Iran, Pakistan, Turkey and six Central Asian nations are participating in the meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization. Member states are rich in natural gas and oil reserves. The goal of the conference is to promote trade in the region and investment in Afghanistan. In a statement, Afghanistan's commerce minister said his country is open for business.

Security is intense in Kabul, as 5,000 international peacekeepers guard the delegates.

Despite progress towards recovery, Afghanistan is still desperately poor after decades of civil war, and is still struggling to cope with an ongoing insurgency by Taleban militants.

... Payvand News - 4/18/04 ... --

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