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The Successful Conclusion of this Conference Is an Encouraging Signal for the Whole of the Region


The Successful Conclusion of this Conference Is an Encouraging Signal for the Whole of the Region

By Chancellor Schröder
December 5, 2001

Present ladies and gentlemen,

First of all I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all you. All of you together brought about something which no one would have thought possible only a short while ago, and this is why this is indeed a great day for Afghanistan and a great day for the United Nations. After all those years of war, of terror, of want and humiliation, you have opened up for the first time for the people of Afghanistan - and indeed they are the most important part in all this - you have opened up a complete perspective for peace and prosperity, and the international community will and needs to continue to be helpful in order to ensure this. We owe a debt of gratitude first and foremost to the Special Representative of the United Nations, Mr. Brahimi and Mr. Vendrell, who through their untiring personal efforts, through their diplomatic capabilities and through their competent stewardship have made it possible that this meeting here has brought about a success. And I think indeed in an impressive way the United Nations have demonstrated yet again that they are able to take a leadership role in situations such as these.

I am obviously more than pleased that we have been able to host this conference here and that apparently you have been satisfied with what the members of our staff here have been able to give you by the way of support. I think that the successful conclusion of this conference is an encouraging signal for the whole of the region, but I think basically it's an encouraging signal for the whole world, not least in view of the important role that the United Nations can play and ought to play in settling this conflict and other conflicts, and indeed coping with the challenges ahead of us - that is something that ought to be underlined. The representatives of the different ethnic groups of Afghanistan, who have negotiated this historic agreement here have all of them had to be ready to compromise and I think that we really owe deep gratitude to all of you, because you have demonstrated courage and far-sightedness, you have set aside your own interests because you believe in the future of your own country, Afghanistan, and because you believe that in this Afghanistan all ethnic groups ought to live in peaceful coexistence and can do so. Let me assure you, we too believe in the future of your country and wherever we may be in any way helpful in trying to build up the country again and secure what has been achieved, we will certainly do so. By signing this agreement you have created the essential pre-conditions for the start of a process of rebuilding and indeed a peace process for this country that has been tested so sorely. What is important and indeed essential now is that all of the parties around this table implement what they have been agreeing here. We, the Germans, would like to be helpful and continuously helpful in this process, together with our European partners, and the international community. The fact that Germany is currently the chair of the Afghanistan Support Group, bears eloquent testimony to this. This means we will give substantial contribution to ensuring that all of the men and women in Afghanistan may finally live in peace, dignity and prosperity in Afghanistan.

Ladies and gentlemen,

the end of this conference certainly does not mark the end of our work. It is indeed a page that has been turned to open up a new chapter in the history of your country, and I hope that this is indeed a successful new chapter, and on behalf of all Germans, I would like to wish you every luck and success.