01:46 GMT +324 February 2018
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    EU Approves $118Mln Aid Package to Support Reforms in Afghanistan

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    The European Union approved an aid package to Afghanistan worth 100 million euros to support implementation of key reforms.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The European Union approved on Monday an aid package to Afghanistan worth 100 million euros ($118 million) under a State Building Contract (SBC) signed with the Afghan government to support implementation of key reforms aimed at ensuring macroeconomic stability, improving public financial management, state budget transparency and development policies, Delegation of the European Union to Afghanistan said in a statement.

    According to the statement, the EU decision follows a positive assessment on progress in these reform areas over the last twelve months "against the background of a challenging security situation."

    "The allocation approved today is a very tangible demonstration of the EU's long-standing commitment to Afghanistan and its people. Following an overall positive review of progress on key reform commitments, the EU's State Building Contract makes a direct contribution to the National Budget and provides the Government of Afghanistan with substantial financial resources and flexibility to allocate these where they are most needed," EU Special Representative and Head of Delegation Franz-Michael Mellbin said as quoted in the statement, noting that the package was aimed to improve services, boost economic growth and reduce poverty.

    The SBC was signed during the Brussels conference on Afghanistan on October 4, 2016. A SBC is the form of the European Union's direct budget support to the bloc's partners that are in "fragile and transitional" situations.

    "The approval of this allocation means that Afghanistan has been making significant progress in crucial areas such as public policy, macroeconomic, financial management and budget transparency and oversight," Afghan Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi was quoted as saying in the statement.

    The minister said that Afghanistan welcomed conditionality-based mechanism, stipulated by the SBC, noting that it gave the Afghan government enough flexibility to reaffirm its commitment to build prosperous and stable state.

    Afghanistan has long been suffering from unstable political, social and security situation due to the simmering militant insurgency, including that of Taliban and Islamic State (IS) terrorist groups, which are outlawed in Russia. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces have been conducting joint operations to combat terrorism across the country.

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