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Volume 18, Number 18, April 28, 2004

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Canada Reaffirms Commitment to Afghanistan

Canada's International Cooperation Minister Aileen Carroll and Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham today announced Canada's pledge of $250 million to assist the people of Afghanistan as their country moves toward stability and democratic rule. The ministers are attending the International Conference on Afghanistan, which began today in Berlin and wraps-up on April 1. The new funding will be delivered from 2005 to 2009 through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). ( See Canada In Afghanistan)

"Minister Graham and I came to Berlin to demonstrate Canada's full support for the people and the Government of Afghanistan as they work to build a peaceful and prosperous future for their country," said Minister Carroll. "CIDA has made an unprecedented investment in development programming to help the people of Afghanistan." 

"President Karzai and the people of Afghanistan have made significant progress in the last year, working toward greater national unity and adopting the country's first democratic constitution since 1964," said Minister Graham. "Many challenges remain however, and Canada is committed to continuing to work in partnership with Afghanistan and the international community, to help Afghans meet their long-term goals." 

Canada recognizes how important it is for the Afghan Transitional Authority to strengthen its leading role in the country's development, as outlined in its national development strategy. Some of the critical areas supported by Canada's funding include poverty reduction in rural areas through agriculture development, microfinance, alternative livelihoods and natural resource management, including water. 

In Berlin, Minister Carroll also announced an allocation of $5 million to support Afghanistan's election process. Presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for September 2004. Good governance and democratic development are priorities under the Afghan national strategy. 

The new funding brings Canada's total contribution in humanitarian and development assistance for the people of Afghanistan to over $616 million since September 11, 2001. 

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the March 2004 Canadian federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.

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Revised: March 31 2004

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