• Kyodo News

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Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said Friday he will attend a U.N. conference on Afghanistan in The Hague next Tuesday to help coordinate international support for the war-ravaged nation ahead of its presidential election slated for August.

“There will be comprehensive discussions on Afghanistan’s political situation, security and development issues,” Nakasone told reporters. He will meet separately with his Pakistani counterpart, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and is eyeing talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the sidelines.

If the talks are realized, Nakasone will reaffirm with Clinton coordinated measures in handling North Korea’s imminent launch of what it claims to be a rocket carrying a satellite. Many fear the North is actually planning a ballistic missile test.

Nakasone will depart Tokyo on Monday and is scheduled to return Wednesday.

The ministerial conference, cochaired by the United Nations, Afghanistan and the Netherlands, aims to discuss Afghanistan’s progress in terms of governance, security and reconstruction. Japan and the United States are among 73 countries invited to attend.

Japan is the third-largest donor to Afghanistan, behind the United States and Britain, having pledged $2 billion in aid. Tokyo has dispersed $1.78 billion in assistance, mainly for humanitarian aid, reconstruction support and governance improvement.

Japan has also announced it will shoulder six months’ salary for about 80,000 police officers in Afghanistan, worth $124 million, to help bolster security capacity ahead of the presidential election.

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