Afghan Foreign Minister Visits New Zealand for Bilateral Talks
Kabul – Afghan foreign minister Dr. Zalmai Rassoul met with the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully met today in Wellington to discuss the bilateral relationship between Afghanistan and New Zealand. Zalmai Rassoul arrived in New Zealand on a tewo day official visit. “A new chapter in our countries’ relationship is about to begin, with New Zealand withdrawing its Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) from Bamyan province in April, in line with the transition process,” Mr McCully says.
Mr McCully said New Zealand troops would continue to support the country after the Provincial Reconstruction Team’s withdrawal by training Afghan forces and helping with intelligence. The Ministers also discussed New Zealand’s development programme in Bamyan, which would continue beyond the withdrawal of the PRT, and in line with the development priorities of the Afghan government. This includes the Renewable Energy Project (US$20 million) and the Agriculture Support Project (US$3.7 million).
New Zealand was committing NZ$24.2 million to a renewable energy project and $4.5m on an agricultural project in Bamiyan. New Zealand has led the PRT in Bamyan since 2003 and has contributed to international counter-terrorism efforts and improved security, development and governance in the province. (Khaama)