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Ambassador Jawad Meets President Uribe to Expand Security and Development Cooperation between Afghanistan and Colombia

 

 

Medellin, Colombia: - Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad met with Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez in Medellin City on November 1, 2009. The Ambassador conveyed the greetings and gratitude of President Hamid Karzai to President Uribe and the people of Colombia, and welcomed Afghan-Colombian expanding relations. Ambassador Jawad also conveyed messages of appreciation from Afghanistan’s Minister Foreign Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta and Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak to their Colombian counterparts, as well as a letter from the Foreign Minister to the Government of Colombia on the expansion of direct bilateral relations between the two countries.

“I admire your brave leadership, clear vision, and exemplary courage to address Colombia’s security and development challenges. And I greatly appreciate your personal interest and support for the stabilization of Afghanistan, as we our two countries share many common security problems, particularly the dangerous threat of  narco-terrorism,” Ambassador Jawad told President Uribe. Moreover, the Ambassador thanked the President for the valuable technical assistance the Government of Colombia had so far provided to Afghanistan, and discussed a number of critical sectors for further cooperation between the two countries.

“We need Colombia’s assistance with deployment of your special forces to help us fight terrorism, as well as training our counter-narcotics police and the Afghan National Army’s counter-narcotics battalion,” Ambassador Jawad specifically requested President Uribe. He also asked for establishment of a longer-term institutional relationship between Afghanistan’s Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development and Colombia’s Accion Social—a program implemented by the Office of the President of Colombia. A key feature of Accion Social is its Center for Coordination of Integrated Action, which delivers timely integrated assistance to the affected populations in remote regions of Colombia. Moreover, Ambassador Jawad requested Colombia’s assistance with establishing a Counter-Narcotics Police Academy at Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior, which he said would immensely help improve governance and the rule of law in the country.

President Uribe responded positively, stating that he would follow up with Colombia’s relevant institutions to determine how they could help Afghanistan address some of the challenges the country shares with Colombia, particularly in the critical areas of security and development. 

Colombian National Minister of Defense Gabriel Silva Lujan and Vice-Minister for Policy and International Affairs Sergio Jaramillo Caro invited Ambassador Jawad to visit a region of Meta, which until a few years ago was under the firm control of narco-terrorists. Through integrated military, law enforcement, and development efforts, the Government of Colombia has been able to drive narco-terrorists out of several districts there. Ambassador Jawad and the accompanying Colombian officials visited Vista Hermosa, a recently liberated district, where the Ambassador met the mayor, community leaders, and local farmers. He listened to them, as they discussed the combined devastating impact of coca cultivation, drug trafficking, and violence on their lives.

Like poor sharecroppers in Afghanistan, Colombian farmers repeatedly appreciated the reestablishment of security in their district, but appealed for food aid, job opportunities, agribusiness facilities, as well as education and healthcare for their families—which the Government of Colombia is striving hard to provide for the destitute. “Like you, most of our farmers lack an alternative livelihood, and demand security, law enforcement, and development assistance, and we hope to provide them with such assistance in partnership with the international community,” said the Ambassador.

Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari, who manages Afghanistan’s non-resident relations with Colombia, accompanied Ambassador Jawad in the meeting with President Uribe, as well as on the site trips outside Medellin. 

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