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Italy to donate €120m to Afghan development projects

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: Afghan and Italian officials signed three economical, infrastructural and cultural cooperation agreements on Tuesday here in Kabul.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Salahuddin Rabbani during singing ceremony, said that according to the agreements the government of Italy vowed to construct Chest-i-Sharif road in Herat province at cost of €92 million, and todonate€28 million for national rural projects as well as financial cooperation in areas of reconstruction of historical places in Afghanistan.

He added that the government of Italy had committed to provide debt to Afghan government aimed at constructing Heart and Mashhad railway to connect Afghanistan with regional countries. “Italy pledges to provide around €150 million lone term debt, and donate €65 million to government of Afghanistan to kick of construction work of railway from Heart and Mashhad state of Iran,” he mentioned.

Italian Foreign Affairs, Paolo Gentiloni said that Rome has long-lasting commitment to support the Afghan government in fields of infrastructure, security and economy areas.

“Room right now is supporting the Afghan government through NATO-Resolute Support Mission against insurgency, but currently Room is paying more heed to its cooperation for reconstruction, economic and cultural fields in this country,” he said.

“This is key to continue our cooperation in Afghanistan, in which construction of Chest-i-Sharif Road in Herat province that connects Afghanistan with Iran through building Herat-Mashhad railway is a good example of our cooperation,” he said.

In the meantime, foreign ministers of the two countries kicked off the first joint commission session in Kabul aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation.

Moreover, Kabul and Room had signed an agreement in 2012 about establishment of joint cooperation commission to hold general session every year, in order to pave the ground for bilateral cooperation, but it was postponed due to some challenges.

Italy Foreign Minister stressed that beginning work of the joint commission was a step to further explore bilateral relationships between the two countries.

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