Afghanistan set to ink deals with UAE in energy, mining sectors

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, center, speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. (AP)
Updated 18 March 2019
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Afghanistan set to ink deals with UAE in energy, mining sectors

  • The UAE has become a commercial hub for Afghan investors and traders who, according to estimates, have invested billions of dollars in the past decade

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left for the UAE on Sunday for talks with leaders of the Gulf state and to sign memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for bilateral engagements in sectors including mining, energy and agriculture.
Since assuming power more than four years ago, Ghani has been trying to forge closer ties with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Coinciding with Ghani’s visit to UAE, the Afghan Ministry of Social and Labor Affairs said that Afghanistan will send some 2,000 vocational laborers to the UAE as part of a pilot project in coming weeks.
The UAE has become a commercial hub for Afghan investors and traders who, according to estimates, have invested billions of dollars in the past decade.
It has also hosted informal talks between Taliban delegates and Afghan politicians in the past, and recently one round of peace talks between representatives of the group and US diplomats was held there.
Ghani’s office said that the president will meet with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Mohamed Bin Zayed.
“Besides issuing a joint communique, President Ghani and His Highness Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will preside over the signing of MoUs in the fields of culture, education, sports, mining, energy and agriculture by the governments of Afghanistan and UAE,” it said in a statement.
Janaqa Naveed, chief of public relations of Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce, said that trade between Afghanistan and the UAE has jumped up in recent years.
“We have had long and friendly relations with the UAE and that has attracted Afghans to invest there due to the facilitation given by UAE to Afghans,” Naveed told Arab News.
“The volume of annual trade stands to tens of millions of dollars both in terms of export and imports and in addition to bilateral trade, UAE has helped Afghanistan with over $1.5 bn in aid projects such as building two hospitals and townships,” he said.


Macron meets Syrian Kurds, vows French support in fight against Daesh

Updated 46 min 52 sec ago
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Macron meets Syrian Kurds, vows French support in fight against Daesh

  • Macron assured the SDF representatives, who were not named, of the "active support of France in the fight against Daesh which continues to be a menace for collective security"
  • European capitals are all keeping a careful eye on the Daesh prisoners held by the SDF after the defeat of the extremists, given many are dual nationals

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron on Friday hosted representatives of the Kurdish-led force that defeated Daesh extremists in Syria, assuring them of France's support in the fight against remaining extremists.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had in late March flushed out Daesh from their last bastion in Syria but still warn the terrorists remain a threat in places.
The SDF is an umbrella force of Kurds and Arabs dominated by Kurds from the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia. It is regarded with huge distrust by neighbouring Turkey which sees the YPG as a terror group.
Macron assured the SDF representatives, who were not named, of the "active support of France in the fight against Daesh which continues to be a menace for collective security," the presidency said in a statement.
Particularly important was the support in the "handling of terrorist fighters held as prisoners along with their families."
European capitals are all keeping a careful eye on the Daesh prisoners held by the SDF after the defeat of the extremists, given many are dual nationals.
Macron also vowed that financial support would be allocated to "respond to the humanitarian needs and the socio-economic stabilisation of civilian populations in Syria."
The SDF were the key ally of the West in defeating Daesh and waged the bulk of the fighting on the ground.
But they fear being abandoned by their patrons now Daesh is beaten, after US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of American forces from Syria.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had in April announced one million euros ($1.1 million) in humanitarian aid for camps housing displaced people, notably Al-Hol which holds thousands of women and children who lived in Daesh-held areas.
France's past contacts with the SDF's Syrian Kurds have angered Turkey, which regards the YPG as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
The PKK has waged a 35-year insurrection against the Turkish state.
Macron also made clear of the importance to Paris of "the security of Turkey and a de-escalation along the Syrian-Turkish border," the presidency said.