Visit to Afghanistan
THE PRIME MINISTER – It’s a very great pleasure for me to come, on behalf of the French government, and show our support, our confidence in President Karzai, his government and the Afghan people in the effort under way to achieve both peace and reconstruction.
I extended our warmest congratulations to President Karzai on the renewed trust the Afghan people had expressed in him. I told him he could be absolutely certain of France’s support, as regards both security and Afghanistan’s reconstruction, and that France would stay as long as necessary to ensure Afghanistan’s stability.
I also told him about our satisfaction at the outcome of the London conference at which President Karzai and his government made very ambitious commitments on Afghanistan’s reorganization and the reconciliation process. France wholeheartedly supports the London conference’s conclusions and is urging the Afghan government now to implement the commitments made.
The friendship between the Afghan people and French people goes back a long way, our cooperation already has a long history; it is going to continue in a climate of confidence. Through their parliament, the French people regularly express their views on the effort France has taken on at Afghanistan’s side. We, the Afghan government and French government, want together to show, step by step, that new milestones on the road to building peace and rebuilding the country are being reached.
Finally, for me this visit will be the opportunity to go and express our admiration and respect for the work the French forces are doing in Afghanistan. A heavy toll has already been exacted on these forces and I have come to tell them of the total confidence the French government and French people have in them.
TROOP REINFORCEMENTS/KIDNAPPED JOURNALISTS
Q. – (on a possible dispatch of further troops to Afghanistan)
(on the fate of the kidnapped journalists)
THE PRIME MINISTER – On the first question, the resources we’re allocating to Afghanistan: you know that we substantially increased these in 2008, which wasn’t necessarily the case for every country engaged in the effort to make Afghanistan safe and secure.
We have a mission to fulfil, which we have negotiated with our allies. We consider that we have the necessary resources to fulfil the mission entrusted to us and the extra efforts we’re going to make are efforts to help in the training of the Afghan army and Afghan police.
As regards the kidnapped journalists, we are working very actively with the Afghan government to get their release. I think it would be counter-productive to say any more at this moment. But I can tell you that this is on our minds every moment of the day./.