Stockholm, August 19, 2015:
A special gathering was organised by the Embassy of Afghanistan in Stockholm on Wednesday August 19, to celebrate the 96th anniversary of Afghanistan’s Independence Day and to mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Afghanistan-Sweden Diplomatic Relations.
The gathering was attended by H.E. Peter Hultqvist Minister for Defence, H.E. Helena Sångeland Director of Asia Pacific at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ambassadors, representatives from the diplomatic corps, journalists, and high ranking officials.
H.E. Peter Hultqvist, while expressing gratitude over the Afghanistan-Sweden friendship said that Sweden will continue to assist Afghanistan over the transformation decade and for the years to come.
Sweden will assist Afghanistan to improve the capacity of Afghan security forces, said Minister for Defence.
He said the purpose of Sweden’s assistance is to improve human rights, democracy and the living conditions of Afghans, especially women and children.
Ambassador Hameed Haami said in his welcoming speech that when we talk about independence, we appreciate the dedication of those brilliant heroes who have devoted their lives in gaining freedom for their fellow citizens.
After decades of unrests, today Afghanistan is in a better development pace. On most social indicators of development, be it education, life expectancy, reduction in maternal and infants mortality, gender equality, literacy or poverty reduction, we have performed very well. Today, Afghans enjoy more freedom and rights than they had for decades, added Ambassador of Afghanistan to Sweden.
He also added that we have so many achievements to celebrate and be proud of in the past 14 years, but our country is still facing a number of challenges on the top of which remains security. He went to say that we are extremely proud of our security forces, who are paying the ultimate price for defending the Afghan people on a daily basis.
In regards to peace negotiations, Ambassador Haami said that as we keep the doors open for negotiations and reconciliation to those Afghans in the armed opposition who are willing to join the peace process, the Government of Afghanistan will strongly respond to each and every act of terrorism with full force backed by the firm national unity.
Expressing his gratitude over the Sweden’s support to Afghanistan, Ambassador Haami said: “The relations between our two countries have been sincere and profound. Both sides are constantly working to further strengthen and deepen the ties.”
Sweden is one of the counties playing a key role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Although, there were contacts between Afghanistan and Sweden for more than 75 years but a friendship agreement was signed by the representatives of two countries in Ankara in 1940.
At the ceremony, Ustad Sharif Ghazal, legendary Afghan classical and ghazal singer, performed ghazals of Rumi-Balkhi and Mirza Bedil and Afghan cuisine was also served while the participants were enjoying a journey of Stockholm by sea.