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Remarks by Ambassador Mari Skåre on the Norwegian National Day, 17 May 2017

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Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan

Excellencies, Ministers, Ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps, Ladies and Gentlemen – dear friends,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the celebration of our National Day.  On this day, in 1814, Norway’s constitution was signed and we got our independence from Denmark.  But it was not until 1905 that Norway acquired its full independence; breaking from the union with Sweden. No blood was shed in our struggle for freedom, and today we enjoy the very best neighborly relations.

Norway is a young nation and we celebrate the birthday of our nation with great joy and festivity! This is the children’s day. All over Norway, children are gathering to march in parades, to play games and to eat as much ice cream as their stomachs can take. At the TV screen in my house you can get a glimpse on how we celebrate this important day in our history. We miss our children and families very much on a day like this - and they miss us, but we are so grateful that you, our friends, have joined us in our celebration.

The Norwegian Constitution of 1814 is considered one of the most liberal of its time. It has later been amended several times and is now the oldest constitution in use in Europe. It is still the supreme law of the Kingdom of Norway and manifests our firm belief in freedom, tolerance, democracy and peace.

These values we share with the Afghan people and these values form the basis for our partnership. Through this partnership, Norway contributes to stability and peaceful development in Afghanistan. You can count on Norway as a continued strong and reliable partner.

A key objective in our partnership is to support a strong Afghan security sector. Norwegian military have trained the Crisis Response Unit tipple two since 2007.  Key priorities in our partnership are also women’s empowerment and support to sustainable development with special focus on education, rural development and good governance. 

Military means alone cannot resolve conflicts and build the peace. I hope that Norway can stand as an example of a society build on the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me, on Norway’s National Day, to pay tribute to my countrymen, civilian and military, serving here in Afghanistan. I am very proud of you. You are highly professional and demonstrate deep engagement to support a better future for Afghanistan. You often take a high personal risk. We honor the Norwegians that have been wounded and those that lost their lives in the struggle for stability and peace in Afghanistan.

I have received a letter from His Majesty, King Harald the Fifth, of Norway. On the occasion of our constitution day, His Majesty sends his best wishes to Norwegians in Afghanistan, and it is my great pleasure to convey that greeting to everyone present.

Long live the friendship between Afghanistan and Norway!

Thank you for your attention.