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18 April 2004 -- A two-day regional economic conference on trade and development opened today in Afghanistan.
It is the first such international conference to be held in that country in roughly two decades.
Opening the conference, Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai said the meeting marks a major step forward by Afghanistan. He said his country is doing "all it can" to open up its borders to facilitate trade with its neighbors.
Afghan Commerce Minister Mustafa Kazemi earlier released a statement saying the conference is an indication that "Afghanistan is now open for business."
The meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization brings together representatives of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.