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Russia hopes to boost international effectiveness in Afghanistan

RIA Novosti

26/03/2009 17:27 MOSCOW, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia hopes to increase international effectiveness in assisting the Afghan government in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.

Speaking ahead of Friday's Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conference on Afghanistan, Lavrov said there must be "more coordination" on combating terrorism and drug trafficking.

Russia's proposals "are directed, first of all, at increasing the efficiency of international cooperation in the work of supporting the efforts of the government of Afghanistan in the struggle against the threat of terrorism and illegal drugs," Lavrov said.

The SCO is a security group that comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The Moscow meeting will also be attended by officials from Afghanistan, neighboring Turkmenistan, Group of Eight leading industrial countries, the European Union, NATO and the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States.

Russia took over the presidency of the SCO last August. Iran, India, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status in the organization.

Another conference on Afghanistan is to be held next Tuesday in The Hague under the auspices of the UN.

A Russian foreign ministry spokesman, Andrei Nesterenko, said on Thursday that Russia hoped the participants of the forum in The Hague would "use the results of their work in the conference in Moscow" to increase further international efforts in the situation in regard to Afghanistan.


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