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Bush: New Afghan Government A 'Major Change' - 2001-12-06


President Bush is welcoming the deal creating a new interim government for Afghanistan. Mr. Bush says the U.N. brokered accord shows progress is being made on both the military and political fronts.

The President says he is pleased with the agreement reached by rival Afghan factions. "There has been great progress in Bonn," he said.

He says the composition of the interim Afghan government is a hopeful sign, noting it is broad-based and includes women. "It is a major change for that part of the world and a positive change," he added.

The deal reached in Bonn by four Afghan factions calls for a post-Taleban interim government to be headed by Pashtun chief Hamid Karzai. The interim administration will be made up of 30 members in all, including two women.

President Bush says they have vowed that under their rule, Afghanistan will no longer be a haven for terrorists. "This interim government, as well, has pledged to fight terror and for that we are grateful," he said.

Other words of support for the power-sharing deal came from European Union External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten, who called it a crucial first step in efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan. Russia, Britain, France, India and Pakistan also welcomed the agreement.

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