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German FM to attend Afghan conference in Istanbul: official

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, Oct 31, IRNA -- German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is to take part in the Afghanistan conference in Istanbul on Wednesday aimed at 'improving regional cooperation,' a German official said here Monday.

Addressing the press, German foreign ministry spokesman, Andreas Peschke reiterated the confab would dwell on boosting security and stability in and around Afghanistan.

Furthermore, the international meeting is to focus on 'strengthening economic development and promoting regional integration,' according to Peschke.

Westerwelle is also to meet separately with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Germany has deployed around 5,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Dozens of German soldiers have reportedly been killed and hundreds more injured in Afghanistan since the start of the western war in that country in late 2001.

Most Germans are deeply opposed to the controversial Afghan military mission.

A broad majority of Germans are sceptical on prospects for a military success in Afghanistan, according to a survey published by YouGov earlier this month.

Some 70 percent of Germans don't believe that the NATO-led military operation can be successful.

Meanwhile, some 68 percent of Germans say their country should not have participated in the 10-year-old western military mission in Afghanistan.

Only 23 percent of Germans approve the deployment of German troops in the war-ravaged country.

OT**1412
Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30640370



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