Kabul, 10 December – At today's meeting with Andrus Ansip, the President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai thanked the Estonian state for its contribution to the increase of the security of Afghanistan. The president confirmed that the Estonian assistance was very much needed and that Afghanistan would never forget our support during these difficult times.
“We are very grateful for the contribution of your soldiers who risk their lives in order to bring a better life to our people,” said Karzai. “Your soldiers are very brave and are worth the highest recognition,” he said and expressed the hope that one day Afghanistan would be able to do something for Estonia in return for that help.
At the meeting, in which the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of defence also participated, the representatives of the government of Afghanistan noted that in fighting against terrorism in Afghanistan, Estonia is also helping itself and the international community.
The Prime Minister said that Estonia remembers well what life is like under a dictatorship. “We received a lot of help from abroad when becoming independent and now it is we who can help others, and we feel a moral obligation to do so,” he said. The Prime Minister affirms that Afghanistan was a long-term obligation of NATO and therefore Estonia’s as well as a member of the alliance, and that the stay in Afghanistan would last as long as was necessary and welcome. “Afghanistan is one of the most important partner countries in the development cooperation of Estonia and our largest military mission is also here,” he said.
As regards Afghanistan, president Karzai namely considered important the creation of a stable environment based on law, and the fight against terrorism. In his opinion, the biggest problem facing Afghanistan was a lack of human capital in building up the country, and was therefore interested in the opportunities for youth to study at universities in Estonia.
While speaking about development cooperation, the Prime Minister affirmed that, at the moment, Estonia was making preparations for supplying the paediatric ward of the central hospital of the province of Helmand with medical equipment. Estonia’s support could help to improve the quality of children’s treatment and to reduce the mortality of children, in particular that of new-borns in the catchment area of the hospital. In addition, Estonia is ready to make a contribution of EEK 700 000 to the civil building foundation and funds for supplying the armed forces of Afghanistan.
In the framework of development cooperation and humanitarian aid, Estonia has so far spent EEK 657 000 supporting the fight against drugs in Afghanistan. Estonia has donated these funds to the UN administered Foundation of Combat against Drugs, the objective which is to support the government of Afghanistan in the fight against drugs. Through the Red Cross, Estonia has also supported the sending of mattresses and first aid kits with EEK 1 million and supported the United Nations High Commissioner with more than EEK 500 000 in the form of voluntary donations.
Today, the Prime Minister also met with Yunus Qanon, the president of the lower house of the parliament of Afghanistan, who expressed his wish to develop inter-parliamentary relations and cooperation and to get to know the experiences of Estonia in enhancing administrative capacity, presenting Internet-based solutions, etc.
Today, the Prime Minister is meeting with Francesc Vendell, the European Union special representative and tomorrow with Estonian soldiers in Camp Bastion.
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