Karzai arrives for aid talks

The Afghan president Hamid Karzai arrives in Abu Dhabi where he is expected to ask Sheikh Khalifa to continue aiding his country.

Abu Dhabi - September 8, 2008:  H.E. Hamid Karzai, President of The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, arrives in Abu Dhabi at Amiri Flight. ( Philip Cheung / The National )
Powered by automated translation

ABU DHABI // Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai is expected to urge the UAE for continued aid to his country during a meeting tonight with Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi. Mr Karzai will ask to maintain the Emirati "assistance for Afghanistan's economic development and to promote investment and trade", said a statement released by the Afghan embassy in Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Khalifa is scheduled to host an iftar banquet for the Afghan leader, who arrived this afternoon for a visit that is expected to continue for several days, according to the Government news agency, WAM. Mr Karzai's visit came in response to an invitation from Sheikh Khalifa.

Officials said the two leaders will discuss means to further strengthen "the existing brotherly relationship between the two countries in addition to discussing the regional issues". Mr Karzai also gave a briefing on the situation in Afghanistan. Afghanistan's ambassador to the UAE Abdul Farid Zikria was quoted in a statement as saying: "The UAE's participation in the reconstruction process of Afghanistan is greatly appreciated.

"The generous pledge made by the UAE in the Paris Conference has taken the existing strong bonds between our two countries a step further." "Further strengthening the affinity between Afghanistan and the brotherly country of the UAE is our goal and desire," he added. Today's visit is Mr Karzai's second trip in almost two years. During the first visit, Mr Karzai made similar calls for financial support.

Afghanistan depends on foreign aid for 90 per cent of its spending. But aid experts say that large sums of the aid money go back to the donor countries in salaries, purchase of goods and profits. Furthermore, many of donors have not met their financial pledges. @Email:mhabboush@thenational.ae