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EU calls for long-term partnership with Afghanistan

BRUSSELS, Jan 20 (KUNA) -- The European Union Monday stressed that it remains firmly committed to long-term partnership with Afghanistan and called on the government in Kabul to reciprocate that commitment by finalising negotiations on the Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development with the 28-member European bloc.
EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels today issued a statement saying that sustained development will require the maintenance of security in Afghansitan. "The finalisation of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States of America is vital and will provide the basis for ongoing international support to increase the capability of the Afghan National Security Force," it underlined.
The EU appreciated the progress made in preparing for the presidential and provincial elections later this year.
The ministers expressed alarm over the announcement by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) of a sharp increase in opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. "The EU will take stock of how it can strengthen its engagement with Afghanistan, other countries in the region and international organisations on the transnational threats posed by drug trafficking and organized crime," they said. (end) nk.tg KUNA 201638 Jan 14NNNN