France to host int'l conference on development aid for Afghanistan

France will host an international aid conference for Afghanistan, President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday. Sarkozy has boosted the French presence in Afghanistan since his election in May, and visited French troops there and Afghan President Hamid Karzai last month. "According to an agreement with President Karzai, France will host the next conference for support to Afghanistan, and will reinforce its involvement," Sarkozy said in a New Year's speech to diplomats in Paris. No date for the conference was set. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who oversaw an international donors conference for the Palestinians last month, will organize the Afghanistan meeting.