ASTANA, September 12 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow believes that the intentions to preserve foreign bases in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of troops from there in 2014 are contradictory, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday taking the floor at a ministerial meeting of the member countries of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia (CICMA).
“In the world, including in the Asian region, numerous challenges and threats persist,: Lavrov stated. “The formation of a kind of an ‘instability belt’ from North Africa to Afghanistan causes special concern.”
“We cannot but be concerned over the future situation in this country (Afghanistan), especially given the contradictory statements that foreign troops will be withdrawn in 2014, but foreign bases will stay,” said Lavrov. “Clarity is essential here: if the anti-terrorist mission is accomplished (and there are doubts about that so far), then it means that the bases are preserved for some other task unrelated to Afghanistan?”
“We all have one goal: a peaceful, prosperous Afghanistan, which poses no terrorist or drug threat to the neighbours and the world,” he said. “Therefore I urge CICMA members to ensure maximum transparency of all the plans and actions, the more so that the mandate for foreign presence in Afghanistan was approved by the UN Security Council.” “I believe that the CICMA mechanism could promote such openness,” Lavrov said.