Afghanistan to further cement ties with China: Afghan president

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-3-26 21:50:56

Afghanistan will continue to enhance ties with China, the out-going Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, said on Wednesday.

"Under the next government of Afghanistan, the next president of Afghanistan will surely be equally or even more keen in pursuit of stronger ties with China," Karzai told Xinhua during an interview in the country's Presidential Palace.

"My message to the people of China is a message of tremendous goodwill from the Afghan people, gratitude from the Afghan people. The Chinese have been good to us, (China) a good neighbor to us," the Afghan leader said.

Further elaborating on the relations between the two countries, Karzai said, "Between China and Afghanistan, we have some areas of interest, matter of significance to both countries."

These include the war against terrorism, stability in the region, economic cooperation, as well as other areas of cooperation that the two countries have bilaterally and regionally, according to the president.

Karzai spoke highly of Chinese President Xi Jinping's proposal of Silk Road economic belt, saying it is "excellent" for the region, especially for Afghanistan and China.

Xi Jinping proposed to build a Silk Road economic belt when he was on a visit to Kazakhstan last year, with focus on economic cooperation, people-to-people cultural exchanges, and connectivity, trade and investment facilitation.

"The idea by President Xi of the Silk Road (economic belt) is important historically and relevant to the current environment, to the current economic needs of the region..we want to be directly connected to China," he said.

"I am very happy to say that, indeed, in the past 12 years, the relations between China and Afghanistan have developed massively into a strategic partnership," the president said, adding cooperation between the two sides has been deepened both in regional issues and international issues.

Afghanistan is set to hold presidential election on April 5. According to the country's law, Karzai is not allowed to run for the post after having served two consecutive five-year terms.

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