H.E President Karzai and Norwegian PM Stoltenberg in bilateral meeting
Afghan president Hamid Karzai met Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in a bilateral meeting on Monday 21 in connection with the NATO summit in Chicago. The main topic on the agenda was requirements in relation to further Norwegian contributions to Afghanistan.
The two state leaders described the long-term partnership between Afghanistan and Norway as good and Prezident Karzai praised the Norwegian contribution to his country: “Norway has been in the forefront when it comes to education for children, health and developing better prospects for the lives of most Afghans”. He added that he had been invited to Norway to sign a partnership agreement between the two countries and said he would like to come.
Karzai further said that Afghanistan is ready to be in the driver’s seat after the ISAF forces pull out by 2014: “Much progress has been made; together we have managed a lot. We are now ready to take responsibility for ourselves. We have to do that, we have to manage on our own”. Norway has committed itself - along with the rest of NATO - to contribute further in Afghanistan, also after the combat troops are withdrawn. In the meeting, Prime Minister Stoltenberg stated that the Norwegian contribution will come with a set of conditions requirements for improvement: “There is no easy task to combat discrimination against women and corruption in a country like Afghanistan, but it must be done. It has happened before that Norway has suspended development aid if we suspect corruption or if the requirements are not met. It can also happen in Afghanistan. So we should be confident that the money arrives”. President Karzai shared Stoltenberg’s view and underlined that Norway has every right to request Afghanistan to account for where the Norwegian contribution is spent: “We also need more transparency on this matter”, he told the Norwegian press after the meeting. Despite the challenges corruption in Afghanistan imposes, the Norwegian Prime Minister nevertheless expressed satisfaction with the development in Afghanistan, especially in the field of education: “Nine million children now receive an education, half of them are girls. There is a massive development”.