Page last updated at 07:59 GMT, Tuesday, 21 July 2009 08:59 UK

EU's Solana in Afghanistan visits

Javier Solana (23 June 2009)
Mr Solana has just completed a trip to Pakistan

The European Union's (EU) foreign policy chief has arrived in Afghanistan for talks with the president and other politicians ahead of key elections.

Javier Solana is to discuss the major developments in the country and region as well as the upcoming electoral process, the EU said.

Next month's presidential election pits incumbent President Hamid Karzai against 40 other candidates.

They come as US and UK forces intensify their fight against Taliban insurgents.

Thousands of troops have been battling militants in the south of the country. More foreign troops have been killed in July than in any other month since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Mr Solana will meet Afghanistan's foreign minister and the head of the EU observation mission in Afghanistan. The EU says he is expected to reiterate EU support for "stabilisation and reconstruction" efforts in Afghanistan.

The EU sent an election observer mission to Afghanistan to prepare for the forthcoming presidential and provincial council elections.

Mr Solana has just been in Pakistan where he met senior leaders and visited a camp for those displaced by fighting in the north-west of the country.

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