The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani received the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier who was joined by a high state delegation during his visit to Kabul, Thursday afternoon, Presidential Palace.
President Ghani welcomed President Steinmeier to Kabul and thanked him for the visit. President Ghani said, “The Afghan-German relations are age-old and we are happy that we celebrated the 100th anniversary of our relations. We hope these relations will be further widened.”
Expressing sorrow over the deadly terror attack which occurred on 31st of May near the German Embassy here in Kabul, President Ghani said, “Ensuring security of the diplomats and diplomatic representations is a priority of the Afghan Government.” He commended the sacrifices rendered by the German forces here in Afghanistan, appreciating German assistance with Afghanistan as pledged in the Warsaw and Brussels Conferences as well as the current mission of German Forces to train and assist our ANDSF.
President Steinmeier expressed delight over his visit, the warm welcome and hospitality. He said that prior to calling on President Ghani; he met with German forces stationed in Mazar-e- Sharif who are fighting terrorism together with the Afghan Forces. He quoted the German forces saying, “The forces told me that the Afghan forces have been more emboldened and organized compared to the past and we are assisting them to be even more competent and capable.”
President Steinmeier thanked the Afghan Government for taking care of the security of the diplomatic representations. He said that the diplomatic affairs and activities of the Federal Republic of Germany will carry on as normal as they used to.
President Ghani touched on terrorism, terming the phenomenon as a menace to the entire region and world. He said that the nature and pattern of terrorism have changed, calling for collective international consensus and cooperation to combat it.
Referring to the reforms already introduced in the security sector, President Ghani said, “Substantial reforms have taken place and will continue in the ministry of defense. We have currently shifted our focus on ministry of interior as a result of which both of the ministries will be depoliticized and armored with professionalism. The leadership in ministry of defense has been entrusted to the new generation which is depoliticized.”
President Ghani said that the four-year security plan has been prepared the implementation of which, as coordinated with our international partners, will result in our ANDSF becoming more competent and capable.
The oncoming elections also figured in the meeting. President Ghani said, “The elections are very important for us. The Independent Election Commission has announced the date for the parliamentary elections.” He thanked the international partners particularly the Federal Republic of Germany for their assistance in holding the elections. The President said that the elections will be conducted transparently in a peaceful atmosphere without any interference.
Remarking on the Kabul Process and the activities of the Peace High Council, President Ghani said, “The Government is committed to peace and our peace agreement with Hezb-I Islami demonstrated that the Afghan-led peace dialogues can yield positive results. The peace agreement (with Hezb-I Islami) will be implemented.”
President Ghani stated that our priority is to make peace with Pakistan and then with Taliban since the Taliban don’t have a single leadership. He added that peace is of two types: one type of peace is social in nature where it (peace) is sought village by village and the other type is political peace. He stressed that Taliban are running short on their opportunity for peace and they have to make a decision quickly.
On the economic growth, location of Afghanistan and opening transit routes, President Ghani commented that Afghanistan is now being economically and commercially connected with the Central Asia via dry ports and railways. He added that through ever-boosting commercial ties with India and China, the Afghan economy will flourish which will positively affect the entire region.
President Ghani described the domestic mineral resources as a crucial element of our economic growth. He particularly spoke of lithium mines located in the Northern provinces, saying that the under-ground resources require an effective management and that the lithium in Helmand province is of a very high quality which can be properly utilized in the car manufacturing industries.
President Ghani suggested that the German car manufacturing industries can enquire into this to see how these mines can be exploited in manufacturing of cars.
President Steinmeier said that Germany is supporting the Afghan peace process, standing with Afghanistan in its different programs. He assured President Ghani to think about how the German car manufacturing companies can cooperate with Afghanistan in exploitation of the lithium mines.
President Ghani re-expressed his gratitude for the assistance and cooperation of Federal Republic of Germany, underscoring the boosting of bilateral cooperation.