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Foreign Minister Paet in Kabul: We Must Do Everything Possible So That Afghanistan Can Accept Responsibility for Security in 2014


No. 7-E

At his meeting in Kabul with Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Zalmai Rassoul, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasised that in the coming years Estonia will focus on aiding Afghanistan in the security, health care, and education sectors, with the ultimate goal of Afghanistan being able to accept responsibility for the development of its nation in the year 2014.

“Estonia’s priority is to continue contributing to both military as well as civil and development co-operation in Afghanistan. In addition to our continuing contribution to the security sector, Afghanistan is one of our most important partners in bilateral development co-operation for the next five years, in accordance with our new action plan for development co-operation and humanitarian aid,” said Paet. “Over 400 000 euros of the Foreign Ministry’s budget for development co-operation and humanitarian aid were donated to various activities in Afghanistan in 2010, and we plan to donate an equivalent amount in 2011,” he added.

Foreign Minister Paet emphasised that one of Estonia’s main goals in contributing to the reconstruction of Afghanistan is expanding the authority of the central government and increasing the capabilities of the local governments. “Our goal in helping Afghanistan is for the nation to be able to manage itself and not pose a threat to other nations. The goal is for the responsibility for security to be transferred to Afghanistan’s own forces by 2014,” Paet added.

Paet also stated at the meeting that Estonia will continue to co-ordinate the development of the health care sector in Helmand. “We are also increasing our contribution in the education sector,” he said.

The foreign minister and his colleague also talked about the successful training project for Afghan diplomats held in Tallinn last year. “We are prepared to continue such training projects this year,” Paet added.

At the meeting, Foreign Minister Paet expressed his satisfaction over the diversification of Estonia-Afghanistan bilateral relations. “Under no circumstances must we underestimate the importance of people-to-people contacts. A good example is the ten Afghan schools that have found friendship schools in Estonia,” he noted.

Afghan Foreign Minister Rassoul stated that Afghan society is very grateful for Estonia’s aid. “Estonia’s stance is a strong base for the very strong and long-term co-operation and friendship between our societies,” Rassoul added.

Paet and Rassoul also addressed Afghanistan’s relations with Pakistan, Iran, and the Central Asian nations.

Last night in Kabul Foreign Minister Paet also met with the American and British ambassadors to Afghanistan and the leader of the European Union delegation in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Paet’s visit continues today in southern Afghanistan, where he will meet with members of the Estonian Defence Forces stationed there and the leader of the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Lashkar Gah.

Photos of the Estonian and Afghan Foreign ministers:

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