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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Estonia to Continue Making Systematic Contribution to Reconstruction of Afghanistan

06.05.2013

Nr 151-E        

While meeting with Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Zalmai Rassoul in Tallinn today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet recognised the development of Afghanistan’s society. “As of this upcoming summer, Afghan security forces will be completely in charge of security operations across the whole country,” he noted. “This is a significant step in the security policy development of Afghanistan, and our common goal is being fulfilled – Afghanistan is taking the initiative to fight against terrorism onto itself,” he added.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that Estonia has provided military support for Afghanistan as well as supported the society through civil and development co-operation in order to achieve the long-term goal of helping the normal development of Afghanistan. “An important component in the development of Afghanistan’s society is also played by the efforts of Afghanistan’s government to integrate the country and support domestic reconciliation, as well as developments in democracy, rule of law, and human rights, including women’s right,” he stated. “Estonia’s support in the form of civil projects will continue in Afghanistan also after most of the international security forces have left,” Paet noted.

During the meeting, Afghan Foreign Minister Rassoul thanked Estonia for its contribution thus far and acknowledged Estonia’s role in the construction of Afghanistan. “We are pleased that Estonia’s support will continue in the future,” he said.

Paet stated that the most important activity in Afghanistan in 2014 is ensuring security so that elections can be carried out successfully. “The 2014 elections are the touchstone of Afghanistan’s democratic development,” he stated.

The Estonian and Afghan foreign ministers expressed their readiness to begin holding regular political consultations between the foreign ministries.

Afghanistan remains a priority partner for Estonia’s bilateral development co-operation. “This year we significantly increased our support, and we are putting 1.4 million euros into development co-operation in Afghanistan. We focus on the areas of education, health care, and good administrative practice,” Paet said. Currently Tallinn University’s project to develop three IT-related master’s programmes at Kabul University is ongoing, as are the Estonian School of Diplomacy’s project for organising short training courses in Tallinn for Afghan diplomats and the project of the NPO Mondo, which involves holding various types of training courses in rural areas in Afghanistan. In addition there is the project of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, which is geared towards increasing the capabilities of Afghanistan’s fire-fighters.

“In accordance with Afghanistan’s wishes, university students from there are welcome in Tallinn University of Technology’s two-year engineering master’s programme,” Paet confirmed.

Paet stated that Estonia is also prepared to help the Afghan government build up an e-state. “We welcome Afghan e-governance leaders and representatives from ministries to a week-long course in Tallinn to more precisely pinpoint Afghanistan’s interests and map out opportunities for future co-operation,” said Paet. He added that we are also awaiting the visit of the Afghan minister of information technology and communications to Tallinn from 13-14 May.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry/sets/721576333854...

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