Afghan President in Europe to Sign Strategic Deals

Posted January 26th, 2012 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in Europe on a trip aimed at establishing long-term strategic partnerships with Italy, France and Britain.

On the first leg of his trip, Mr. Karzai met in Rome Wednesday with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

During the meeting, Mr. Karzai praised Italy for the sacrifices made by its soldiers to maintain peace and security in Afghanistan. President Napolitano assured Italy's continued aid.

President Karzai is expected to meet Thursday with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti to sign a bilateral deal that ensures Italy's aid in security, economic and counter-narcotics issues in Afghanistan past 2014.

On Friday, Mr. Karzai plans to meet with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, before flying to London for talks with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron.

Before arriving in Europe, Mr. Karzai held talks with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov in the city of Turkmenbashi.

The two leaders discussed economic and bilateral cooperation, including a gas pipeline project from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, and a railway line linking the two countries.