United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the signing in Kabul over the weekend of a non-aggression declaration between Afghanistan and its six neighbours, saying that he hoped the pact would strengthen the peace process in the country and also promote political and economic progress in the entire region.
A statement issued by a UN spokesman in New York said the Secretary-General called on the signatories of the Declaration on Good Neighbourly Relations - China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan - "to do their utmost to respect the principles of territorial integrity and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, and to work together to solve the problems of terrorism, political extremism and drug trafficking."
The Secretary-General also extended his congratulations to President Hamid Karzai and his government, as well as to the people of Afghanistan. "He expresses the hope that the Kabul Declaration will complement the Bonn Agreement to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for Afghanistan and its neighbours," the statement said.
"At the same time, the Secretary-General believes that much progress remains to be achieved in Afghanistan, particularly in improving the security situation, as has been demonstrated by a number of recent incidents throughout the country," the statement added.