Minister Cowen pledges €5 million for Reconstruction of Afghanistan
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen, T.D., today pledged €5 million on behalf of Ireland to assist with the ongoing reconstruction of Afghanistan.
Minister Cowen is attending the International Conference on Afghanistan in Berlin. The Conference has the objective of reaffirming the commitment of the international community to the political and economic recovery of Afghanistan.
Speaking on behalf of the EU, Minister Cowen stated;
“In the past fifteen months, Afghanistan has made great progress. While many challenges remain to be overcome, and the complexity of these may seem daunting, we believe that the people of Afghanistan have the courage and determination necessary to overcome them. They can rely on the support of the European Union, its Member States and the entire international community.” Ireland’s pledge of €5 million, which will be expended over the next two years, will bring Ireland’s commitment to reconstruction and recovery programmes in Afghanistan to €17 million since January 2002. In addition, humanitarian assistance of almost €4 million has addressed the basic and urgent needs of the most vulnerable. Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
It is expected that part of Ireland’s pledge will be allocated to assist the recovery activities being carried out by UN agencies and NGOs. In addition, Ireland will make funds available for basic humanitarian relief. Assistance also will be provided to the electoral process. The success of the elections, which are due to be held in September of this year, will be a vital milestone on the road to a stable and secure Afghanistan.
More than 60 delegations are attending the conference which is being addressed, inter alia, by German Chancellor Schroder; Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General, Lakhdar Brahimi; Special Representative of the Prime Minister of Japan, Sadako Ogata; and the President of the Afghan Transitional Authority, President Karzai.