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Germany

Petersberg May Host Third Afghanistan Conference

A spokesperson for the German Foreign Office in Berlin has echoed U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's calls for a third international conference on stabilizing Afghanistan amid growing concerns about the escalation of violence in the war-torn country as well as its difficult path to democracy. Although the German Foreign Office spokesperson said neither a location nor a date has so far been set, Afghan Minister for Reconstruction Amin Farhang has told the regional newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung that the conference should once again be held in Petersberg near Bonn, where the first and second international Afghanistan conferences were held in 2001 and 2002. He also pointed out that the international community's aid package of €3.7 billion ($4.5 billion) was not enough to pay for the country's reconstruction, adding that "in the next five years alone we would need $30 billion to get Afghanistan back on its feet." In a similar vein, Kofi Annan also stressed in New York on Monday that it was time the international community decided whether or not to expand its mission in Afghanistan.