China will donate 1.5 billion yuan ($244 million) to Afghanistan over the next three years, the country’s premier announced Friday at the opening of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan conference in capital Beijing.
Stressing the summit should focus on Afghanistan’s reconstruction, Li Keqiang pledged to strengthen cooperation on infrastructure, construction and the protection of mineral sources.
“During the next five years China will educate 3,000 people from different social groups and provide 500 scholarships,” he added.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu thanked China for hosting the conference and called for coordinated efforts to fight challenges such as terrorism and the drug trade in Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan is at a critical crossroad in terms of history, passing through a major political transformation,” he stated, adding that Turkey and other Turkic-speaking countries – including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan – would show their solidarity with Aghanistan.
The Istanbul Process was founded in November 2011 to present a new vision of security and stability in Afghanistan and to promote regional cooperation in Asia, according to the summit’s official website.
China and Afghanistan are co-chairing this year's summit. Member countries include: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.
The summit will monitor the recovery of Afghanistan, where more than three decades of turmoil and war have left the country with weak infrastructure, and millions of people displaced and thousands killed or disabled.