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Switzerland set to send observers to Afghanistan

Peshawar delegation taking part in the talks in Bonn Keystone

Switzerland is ready to send civil experts to Afghanistan to observe the reconstruction of the country and offer their advice.

This content was published on November 29, 2001 - 21:51

The Swiss foreign ministry is currently assessing its pool of 600 civil experts to find out how many observers are prepared to go to war-torn Afghanistan to monitor the process of the country's reconstruction.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman, Muriel Berset-Kohen, told swissinfo that Switzerland is prepared to send such observers to Afghanistan at any time.

"We have 600 civil experts in our pool of experts and we think the UN [United Nations] should indicate to us when they need experts," she said.

The establishment of a broad-based government in Afghanistan is currently being discussed at a United Nations conference in the German town of Bonn, where anti-Taliban factions have agreed to a formula for a 42-member interim council.

The Swiss delegates observing the talks in Bonn are pleased about the progress made so far and feel optimistic about Afghanistan's future.

"Switzerland is in favour of the establishment of a broad-based government representing all religious and ethnic groups of Afghanistan," Berset-Kohen said.

She also thinks forming such a government will be a difficult task, however, she said "the representative of the UN, Lakhdar Brahimi, is doing his best and we are fully supporting him."

Switzerland is especially keen on providing humanitarian aid to the Afghan people and assisting multilateral organisations with infrastructure projects.

"We would like to co-operate with the multilateral organisation in the reconstruction of Afghanistan's infrastructure. This means [providing] energy and water supplies, which should commence as soon as conditions on the ground permits it."

During the talks in Bonn, the Northern Alliance also said it would not oppose an international security force to ensure peace during an interim administration for Afghanistan.

The power-sharing administration would run the country until a national council of tribal leaders can be convened next March.

swissinfo

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