Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle talked on today’s ARD-Morgenmagazin about the situation in Afghanistan and financial assistance for Ireland.
Commenting on Afghanistan, he noted:
“We agreed this year on a change of strategy. This means we now have not only the military component and the civilian development component, we’re also backing reconciliation in the political sphere, a political process. This should enable us in a number of provinces to start next year handing over responsibility for security to the Afghan authorities. In 2012 we then plan for the first time to reduce the size of our Bundeswehr contingent. By 2014 we want to have handed over to the Afghan Government full responsibility for the country’s security. From that date on we aim to have no more combat troops on the ground there.
Obviously we can’t then just leave Afghanistan to its own devices. We can’t idly stand by while forces that pose a terrorist threat to us, after all, swiftly regain the upper hand. ... We will continue ... to live up to our responsibility for Afghanistan. We will carry on, too, with our civilian projects. Hospitals, schools, new roads and infrastructure, for example. That’s all very important if terrorism in the form of extremism is to be nipped in the bud. ...”
Commenting on Ireland, he noted:
“This shows the German Government’s decision in the spring to launch a rescue package to deal with such emergencies was the right one. We were very harshly criticized for this by the Opposition. But it was clearly the right decision to take precautionary measures in good time, so any future crisis does not find us unprepared, as was the case with Greece. ... It’s important now also to ensure that Ireland meets the relevant criteria. ... What all this adds up to is clear: the situation now doesn’t find us unprepared. ...”