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Karel Schwarzenberg in Afghanistan


First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Karel Schwarzenberg held a speech at a conference in Kabul. He visited Afghanistan with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Guido Westerwelle and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and First Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton. It was the first meeting of Karel Schwarzenberg with Catherine Ashton after assuming his minister´s duty.

The conference in Kabul followed the conference held in London in January 2010 which set objectives and strategies to improvement of situation in Afghanistan. The Kabul conference was not a donor conference. International community expects Afghanistan government to take an pro-active attitude in solving the situation regarding conclusions of the Peace Jirga session held in June 2010. The Kabul conference was the first meeting of high representatives of countries and organizations involved in reconstruction of Afghanistan which was held in the country. The conference was attended by more than 40 foreign ministers. Its ordering and security was ensured by Afghanistan only, for the first time.

In his speech minister Schwarzenberg confirmed obligations of the Czech Republic in Afghanistan and asserted Czech commitment to be involved in reconstruction of Afghanistan, both on bilateral level and as a part of NATO and EU missions. The Czech Republic supports Afghanistan Handover Plan agreed between Afghanistan government and NATO, in a cooperation with international community. The responsibility handover does not mean a premature retreat of Czech units from Afghanistan but a gradual change of Czech presence in Afghanistan, emphasized minister Schwarzenberg.

Minister Schwarzenberg met Foreign Minister of Pakistan Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Zalmai Rassoul at the conference.