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2014 UN Afghan Withdrawal Not Artificial Term - Lavrov

RIA Novosti

16:26 05/04/2012 BISHKEK, April 5 (RIA Novosti) - The timeline for the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan should not be adjusted to “someone’s election schedule”, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.

“We are convinced that 2014, which is designated as the year of withdrawal [of coalition forces from Afghanistan] should not be viewed as an artificial term, adjusted to someone’s election schedule,” Russia’s top diplomat said. “It’s up to the UN Security Council to decide whether the mandate should be ended or not.”

The minister added that Russia would assist international forces deployed in Afghanistan under a UN mandate.

“We are interested in this mandate to be fulfilled, it is necessary to eradicate any threat from Afghanistan,” Lavrov said.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) plans to hand over responsibility for security in Afghanistan to the Afghan leadership by the end of 2014, as decided at the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon. The date is yet to be approved at the forthcoming NATO summit in Chicago in May.

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