miro kovac.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ MVEP/ ua

Croatia has so far provided about 50 million kuna (6.6 million euros) in assistance to Afghanistan and will continue to help that country, Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miro Kovac said in Brussels on Wednesday.

"Croatia has been supporting the Afghan leadership, and we want that country to consolidate and stabilise, to succeed in the fight against terrorism and the Taliban. The Croatian military has been present there for years, we have assisted in building schools and a health centre, in building institutions and training police. The value of all that is about 50 million kuna so far," Kovac told Croatian reporters at an international donor conference on Afghanistan, which was taking place in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The conference was being attended by about 70 countries, including the United States, Russia, Iran, China and India, which have also pledged assistance. EU foreign and security policy chief Federica Mogherini announced that the EU would pledge 1.2 billion euros in aid to Afghanistan.

Asked how much of the EUR 1.2 billion pledge would be provided by Croatia, Kovac said that the amount would be determined by the new Croatian government.

"We undertook to make a contribution under a programme, but that has not yet been formalised through government decisions, so we'll have to wait for the new government to be formed," Kovac said, recalling that on the margins of the NATO summit in July President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic had signed a bilateral agreement that would make it possible for Croatia to continue providing aid bilaterally.

"Today we have all shown together that we can help Afghanistan. The country has changed since 2001, its standard of living has changed, the economy has risen, and it is developing well despite problems," Kovac said.

In his address to the conference, Kovac said that Croatia fully supported efforts by the international community to stabilise Afghanistan. He said that Croatia had been active there from the outset and would remain so for as long as necessary.

Kovac said that Croatia would honour its commitments as a member of the EU and NATO and would continue its political, military and financial contribution to Afghanistan through various channels.

The deteriorated security situation and difficult socioeconomic circumstances have forced many Afghans, especially young people, to venture on a dangerous journey to Europe, he said.

It is important that we join our forces and cooperate comprehensively in dealing with migrations and other regional and global challenges, such as terrorism and violent extremism. Our shared goal is a stable Afghanistan that will never again be a safe haven for terrorism, where people will be able to prosper, Kovac said.

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