Speech by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle to open the Consulate-General in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan

09.06.2013 - Speech

-- Translation of advance text --


Governor Atta,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Germany has had a very special connection to northern Afghanistan and especially to this city for almost a decade. Camp Marmal has housed thousands of German soldiers during the past few years. German police officers have enjoyed great success training their Afghan counterparts here, and large numbers of German development workers and experts have collaborated with Afghan partners here to advance the country’s reconstruction.

The opening of a German consular post in your city marks a high point in Germany’s relations with Afghanistan’s northern region.

Your city and the north of Afghanistan are among the most secure parts of the country today. That is a great achievement. Without security, there can be no development – and without development, there can be no security.

Your region is remarkable for its above-average economic growth. Proximity to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan make Mazar-e-Sharif a vibrant centre of cross-border trade.

It is the German Government’s intention to be a part of that for the long term.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The friendship between Germany and Afghanistan has a long history.

Germany has played its part in the joint fight against insurgents and undertaken major efforts in the interests of Afghanistan’s swift reconstruction.

2014 will be the beginning of a time of change for Afghanistan, with a new President being elected and the ISAF mission reaching its conclusion. The withdrawal of German combat troops will go ahead as agreed.

But Germany will keep up its extensive civilian commitment and will continue to train the Afghan security forces. We are not going to abandon Afghanistan.

The Consulate-General in Mazar-e-Sharif is a visible sign of that commitment.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Consulate-General is operational as of today. It will be headed by Hans-Ulrich Südbeck. Many of you will know him from his work as the civilian head of Regional Command North.

I wish him and his staff the best of luck.

Long live the Afghan-German friendship!

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