Geneva - United Nations

 The International High-level Conference on Afghanistan was launched today at the United Nations Headquarters to show solidarity with the war-torn country of Afghanistan and to help strengthen the Government's efforts to promote development as well as broader peace and security.

The United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan, "UNAMA" Toby Lanzer told a press conference at the start of the conference on Monday that the United Nations will do everything in its power to help them, with the support of the international community, pointing out that the issue of peace will be a component of the discussions in the conference .

The conference, which was attended by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, along with several international officials and the European Union, aims to emphasize the importance of development to ensure peace and security.

Afghan leaders and foreign diplomats are meeting in the Swiss city for a two-day conference during which international donors are expected to pledge billions of dollars in aid to Kabul.

On the first day of the meeting on November 27, Ghani promoted his government's reforms that are meant to improve the business environment, ease trade, improve infrastructure, and unlock natural resources.

"It's a different Afghanistan," Ghani said. "We are open for business. I hope you are open for partnerships."

Dozens of countries are attending the high-level talks on November 27-28, during which the Afghan delegation is expected to renew its commitment to reform and discuss aid contributions in its bid to achieve stability and security.

"This is one of the worst moments for the people of Afghanistan, but on many fronts important progress has been made in the last 24 months," Toby Lanzer, the deputy chief of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, told a press conference on November 27.

The UN, which is co-hosting the summit with the Afghan government, said in a statement that the conference will be "crucial in measuring results against the $15.2 billion committed by the international community for Afghanistan" at the last funding meeting in Brussels in 2016.

The Afghan delegation is expected to present its growth strategy, ranging from maintaining security and building infrastructure to fighting corruption and female empowerment.

The conference comes at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is actively seeking to launch a formal peace process with the Taliban.

The Afghan delegation is expected to call on the international community to "support an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process" amid efforts to end the 17-year conflict.

sourceS:UN- AGENCIES

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