Partnership with Afghanistan
During a visit to Berlin by Afghan President Hamid Karzai on 16 May, Germany and Afghanistan concluded an agreement on future cooperation between the two countries. President Karzai and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel signed the document. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called it “an important contribution on the part of Germany to Afghanistan’s long-term stabilization, beyond the end of 2014 and the withdrawal of German and international combat troops”.
President Karsai, Foreign Minister Rassoul, Federal Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Westerwelle after having signed the agreement
The agreement is intended to govern bilateral relations between Germany and Afghanistan in the long term. It covers all the important areas of the two countries’ cooperation, from the development of their political relations and future cooperation on security in Afghanistan, to continued development cooperation and civilian reconstruction as well as the economic and cultural spheres. It also reiterates the Afghan Government’s commitment to upholding good governance and human rights, particularly the rights of women and children.
The partnership agreement is to be implemented and fleshed out by a German-Afghan intergovernmental working group led by the Federal Foreign Office and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Germany stands by its commitments”
Foreign Minister Westerwelle with Karsai in Berlin
The partnership agreement sends a clear message that Germany is not going to leave Afghanistan abandoned after 2014. As Foreign Minister underscored, “Germany stands by its commitments.” President Karzai recently announced that Afghanistan would take over responsibility for the security of three quarters of the Afghan population before the end of this year. Germany’s Foreign Minister saw this as a sign that the internationally agreed hand-over strategy was advancing well. As international combat troops withdrew, he said, support for a peaceful Afghanistan was becoming “more civilian with every step”.
The partnership agreement has been signed at a time when a number of international conferences relating to Afghanistan are being prepared. The NATO Summit in Chicago will be held on 20-21 May and is to determine the remaining steps in handing over responsibility for security to the Afghan Government by 2014. NATO’s post-2014 involvement in training and funding the Afghan security forces is also high on the agenda for Chicago. A meeting of Foreign Ministers in Kabul on 14 June is to discuss progress on regional cooperation, and yet another conference, in Tokyo on 8 July, will focus on Afghanistan’s long-term development prospects.
Last updated 16.05.2012