Saudi Arabia Pledges Additional $150 Million to Afghanistan
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has pledged $150 million to the nation of Afghanistan over three years to support the creation of programs and institutions to rebuild the country. The funds follow an initial pledge of $200 million made by the Kingdom to Afghanistan at a donors' conference in Tokyo in April 2009. The new pledge was announced at Afghanistan: The London Conference, convened January 28 by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
"There is no military solution to the problems facing Afghanistan today. Certainly the security of Afghanistan must be achieved and maintained, and the fight against terrorism must be continued, but even these objectives cannot be achieved by reliance exclusively on military means," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said. In addition, he commended that new policies and programs must be developed that "emphasize national reconciliation as a necessary pre-requisite for achieving security and stability, which will enable Afghanistan to develop economically and socially. That in turn will create suitable conditions for a speedy withdrawal of foreign troops, and giving the people of Afghanistan the full responsibility for the affairs of their country."
The London conference, which was attended by more than 61 countries and a dozen organizations, was preceded by a high-level ministerial meeting. Attendees from the Kingdom included Prince Saud, Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, and Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir.
Meetings focused on the implementation of strategies to support Afghanistan's security, governance and development, and improved international civilian coordination.
Prince Saud added: "What Afghanistan needs is our collective commitment to seek and support a political solution inside Afghanistan itself. This requires an all inclusive political process that achieves national reconciliation and national unity based on the peaceful and active participation of all the people of Afghanistan. This would achieve the further goal of isolating the terrorists. Separating the terrorists from the various components of the people of Afghanistan is the surest way of defeating terrorism."