Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed an agreement on long-term cooperation and partnership.
Reaffirming support to the reconciliation process between the Afghan government and Taliban movement, Monti said his country wouldn’t leave Afghanistan alone at this delicate stage.
He made the remarks in a joint press conference with Karzai after the signing ceremony at the government premises of Palazzo Chigi here Thursday evening Italy will continue support to Afghanistan even after the pullout of the Italian 4,200-strong contingent from Afghanistan, due to start later this year, he pledged.
He urged Taliban to renounce violence and respect the national unity in order to enhance the success prospects of the reconciliation and the post-conflict rehabilitation.
Dealing with the partnership deal, Monti said it covers all forms of non-military assistance including the aid to the civil society in Afghanistan.
He praised Karzai’s handling of the political process and the armed insurgency, saying the administration of the Afghan leader made good progress in this regard.
For his part, Karzai expressed gratitude to Italy for the human and material sacrifices it offered for the stabilization process in his country over the last decade.
Karzai, arrived yesterday on an official visit, invited Monti to visit Kabul as early as possible.