Westerwelle welcomes Karzai speech during Afghanistan visit | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 19.11.2009
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Germany

Westerwelle welcomes Karzai speech during Afghanistan visit

Hamid Karzai has been inaugurated to a second term as the president of Afghanistan. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle praised the message in Karzai's inaugural speech, and called on Karzai to follow through.

Hamid Karzai

Karzai's inauguration ceremony was attended by many foreign dignitaries

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle joined around 800 dignitaries from around the world to witness Karzai's swearing in for a second term in office.

Karzai won the election by default: after revelations of massive election fraud in his favour, his main rival Abdullah Abdullah pulled out of a run-off.

In his inaugural speech, Karzai said Afghan security forces would step up efforts to eradicate terrorism in Afghanistan, adding that the country's own forces would take control of the security situation during his term.

In response to growing criticism from the international community, Karzai also addressed the issue of corruption in his government, calling for an end to the present "culture of impunity." He said Kabul would play host to an international conference on corruption and that all Afghan officials suspected of corruption would be brought to justice.

After the speech, Westerwelle praised Karzai's speech, saying it struck the proper chord with Germany.

"That was a speech with the right emphasis to fulfill our expectations," he said. "We'll take Karzai at his word, and make sure that he backs up these words with the proper actions."

Westerwelle arrived in Kabul early on Thursday morning, just hours ahead of the inauguration ceremony. The visit by Germany's foreign minister was kept secret for security reasons.

According to the German news agency dpa, Westerwelle is expected to visit a Bundeswehr camp in northern Afghanistan after the ceremony.

The German cabinet decided during a retreat on Wednesday to extend the German military mission in Afghanistan by an additional year.

mz/dpa/AFP/AP
Editor: Michael Lawton

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