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News, 12/14/2009

The future of Afghanistan will be solved through civilian crisis management

The future of Afghanistan was discussed by Foreign Minister of Germany  Guido Westerwelle, visiting Finland, and his host, Alexander Stubb. 
Finding a common strategy first is pivotal before discussing the means  of achieving the goal,” the Ministers pointed out in a briefing on 11  December.

Alexander Stubb and Guido WesterwelleA conference on Afghanistan will be held in London in January 2010. Both Ministers emphasized the political nature of the meeting. “The entire future of the international mission in Afghanistan depends on our ability to strengthen the local civil society and to transfer the responsibility to the Afghans themselves,” said Germany's newly appointed Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle. “Discussing the number of soldiers is therefore not relevant.”

Reconstruction of Afghanistan will not, however, take place without the troops' support, Westerwelle reminded. “Nonetheless, reconstruction must be implemented in a way that will allow withdrawing the troops,” the Minister said, laying out Germany's strategy. “We do not want this assignment to go on for a hundred years."

However, the Minister was not willing to estimate as to when the troops will be withdrawn. “What is crucial here is getting Afghanistan back on its feet and making it safe and democratic. This will take place province by province, somewhere quicker, somewhere at a slower pace.”

“I agree with Guido Westerwelle one hundred percent. We will find a common strategy first,” confirmed Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb. According to Stubb, Finland highlights the following three points in Afghanistan: safety, reconstruction, and civilian crisis management.

The Minister reported that Finnish foreign policy leaders will agree on their strategy for Afghanistan in January in talks between the President of the Republic and the Cabinet. He was not willing to comment beforehand the possibility of Finland undertaking supervision of an Afghan province. “It would, of course, constitute a great change in our principles of operation.”

Stubb and Westerwelle also discussed the creation of EU External Action Service, the situation in Iran, relations with Russia, and armament control.

In the course of his quick visit Westerwelle also met President of the Republic Tarja Halonen.


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Updated 12/14/2009

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