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Afghanistan’s new President Ahmadzai choses China for his first official foreign visit

October 21, 2014, 19:25 UTC+3 TEHRAN
New President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai will hold talks with Xi Jinping and other high-ranking Chinese officials in the course of the three-day visit
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Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai

© EPA/JAWAD JALALI

TEHRAN, October 21. /TASS/. New President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who was sworn in on September 29, will make his first official foreign trip as the head of state to China upon an invitation from the Chinese leader, the press service of the Afghan president said in a statement on Tuesday.

“President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and a delegation of officials from the Afghan government will set off to the Chinese capital of Beijing next week upon an official invitation from Chinese leader Xi Jinping,” the statement said.

According to the statement, the president of Afghanistan will hold talks with Xi Jinping and other high-ranking Chinese officials in the course of the three-day visit. A bilateral document is also expected to be signed as a result of the visit, but the nature of the agreement was not disclosed in the statement.

China is playing one of the influential roles in the region and provides assistance to Afghanistan. Chinese investments in Afghanistan considerably increased since 2010 and, in particular, the Asian country disbursed to Afghanistan $3.5 billion for the development of copper mines. China also enjoys concessions on the exploitation of oil fields in Afghanistan. On the whole, specialists evaluate Afghanistan’s natural resources at $1 trillion.

China is also interested in the stable public and political situation in Afghanistan, which borders on China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The country’s volatile Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is populated by Uyghur Muslims and the titular Chinese nation of Han. Militants from the Islamic East Turkestan Movement stand for the region’s secession from China and were behind a series of terrorist attacks in the region targeting law enforcers and civilians.

Former Finance Minister Ahmadzai won the second round of the presidential election in Afghanistan earlier this year in a tight race with his only contender, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.

Ahmadzai first weighty move in the capacity of the country’s president came only one day after his inauguration, when he signed security deals with the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allowing for the significant part of the international military contingent to remain in the Central Asian country after 2014.

Prior to being elected to the post of president Ahmadzai repeatedly stated that he intended to sign an agreement with the United States on the continued deployment of US military contingent in Afghanistan following Washington’s planned withdrawal of its military personnel this year. Abdullah expressed the same intention during his presidential campaign.

However, the signing of the military pacts was eventually threatened by the political deadlock in the country as Abdullah refused to recognize the outcome of the voting’s second round on June 14 and demanded that the results be revoked allegedly due to mass violations at polling stations.

The political standoff was eventually resolved as both political rivals came to terms of sharing the power in the country with Abdullah taking the seat of the chief executive officer, a post similar to the one of the country’s prime minister, and Ahmadzai taking the post of the president.

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