The international community is making another attempt to solve the problems of a certain country altogether. Previous undertakings were all over with nothing: this happened in Africa, in Latin America, and in the Balkans.
The international conference, devoted to the assistance of Afghanistan, started in Tokyo. Representatives of 60 countries and 22 organizations, including the Group of Eight and the UN are participating in the session. Japan, the USA, the EU, and Saudi Arabia are the co-chairmen of the conference. The conference will expand on the program of the vital measures for the reconstruction of the ruined country, and they are also to create a plan for distributing the funds that are to be assigned by the international community.
The money is not small. Japan alone will transfer $500 million within the coming 30 months. The money is meant for mine-clearing programs in Afghanistan, the settling of refugees, for education, healthcare, and for the protection of women’s rights.
The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, stated that America is going to allocate $296 million for the people of Afghanistan; half of that sum has already been put into the budget of the country.
The Japanese are being generous. They were not actually supposed to give away so much money; the conflict in Afghanistan did not really concern them. Therefore, they have showed that the Asian people can be even more noble and generous than their foreign neighbors. They were offering another kind of transaction to the Afghans: hospitals and schools if they agreed to lay down arms in return. The USA has already spent much on Afghanistan, so America does not think about romantic gestures now; let others do it.
The European Union also answered the appeal to help Afghanistan: the EU will assign about 550 million euros. Russia is not an outsider in this arrangement, but it has not said anything yet about the sum of financial help it is willing to give. This is not actually needed: Russia is rendering the real help to Afghanistan, shipping the humanitarian aid there and so on. The process to raise the economy of Afghanistan will take about ten years and will cost the donors $15 billion.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.RU
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
Reuters photo: An Afghan man pushes a wooden cart with scrap metal in the center of Kabul, January 20, 2002
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