Press release attributable to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Oslo, March 31st, 2009
His Excellency Mohammad Younis Qanouni, Chairperson of the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, heading a parliamentary delegation, arrived at the Oslo Gardemoen Airport today, 31 March 2009.
At the airport he was received, among others, by His Excellency Hans Brattesta, Secretary General of the Storting. Mr. Qanouni and his delegation had a meeting with His Excellency Jens Stoltenberg, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway, in the afternoon.
Mr. Stoltenberg, welcomed Mr. Qanouni and the delegation to Norway and said that even though Afghanistan and Norway are distant geographically, they have close relations and shared interests. Therefore Norwegian troops are deployed in Afghanistan to participate in the peace process.
Regarding the security situation in Afghanistan, Mr. Stoltenberg said that Norway understands the regional dimension of the issue and the threat posed to stability in Afghanistan by elements in Pakistan. He said that Norway will pay more attention to the training of the Afghan National Police and underlined that Norway will emphasize the importance of strengthening the security institutions in Afghanistan at the NATO summit next week.
In his turn, Mr. Qanouni thanked Norway for hosting the delegation. He expressed gratitude for Norway’s support for Afghanistan, and for the contribution of about 650 Norwegian soldiers for maintaining security in Afghanistan and particularly in Faryab Province. He also thanked Norway for hosting a considerable number of Afghan immigrants hospitably and expressed hope that the small number of Afghans, about 200, that are waiting for a response from Norway, will be treated favourably.
Later on, Mr. Qanouni briefed Mr. Stoltenberg about the current situation in Afghanistan and noted that the time has come for the Afghanistan strategy to be changed based on the lessons learned thus far. He welcomed the new US strategy for Afghanistan and said that the regional dimension is importing in solving the issue of Afghanistan. He stressed that Afghans are still hopeful and believe that together with the international community they will succeed in restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Mr. Qanouni especially thanked the Norwegian government and people for their support for the upcoming elections in Afghanistan and he expressed satisfaction for the selection of His Excellency Kåre R. Aas as Norwegian Ambassador to Afghanistan and said that he is playing a great role in strengthening the relations between the two countries.
As part of the official visit, the delegation will meet with His Excellency Thorbjørn Jagland, the President of Stortinget; attend the opening session of the parliament from the guest gallery; receive briefing on constitutional and administrative matters by Mr. Hans Brattesta, have a meeting with the members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Parliament and hold a meeting with Her Excellency Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen, the Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Norway.
For immediate release
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Oslo
Accredited to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland
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