December 11, 2018

Dutch-Afghan relations reaffirmed

H.E. Dr. Homayoon Azizi, Ambassador of Afghanistan.

 

By Sheila Turabaz.

The Ambassador of Afghanistan to the Netherlands, H.E. Dr. Homayoon Azizi and his spouse Mrs. Layqa Azizi hosted a reception on the 3rd of September to celebrate the nation’s 99th Independence Day.

A large banner of the former King Amanullah Khan– who up until this day is remembered for being a social reformer as well as having secured Afghanistan ‘s independence from Britain in 1919 – caught the attention of guests as they entered the lobby of the Hilton Hotel.

 

The Ambassador of India H.E. Mr. Venu Rajamony, The Ambassador of Iran, H.E. Mr. Alireza Jahangiri, H.E. Mr. I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, Ambassador of Indonesia, H.E. Ms. Ngo Thi Hoa, Ambassador of Viet Nam, H.E. Ms. Eksiri Pintaruchi, Ambassador of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Dirk Brengelmann, Ambassador of Germany, H.E. Mr. Ernest Keith Neuhaus, Ambassador of Australia, H.E. Mr. Shujjat Ali Rathore, Ambassador of Pakistan and H.E. Mr. Aldo Cavalli Apostolic Nuncio,  attended the celebration.

Ambassadors, representatives of various organizations, Dutch businessmen as well as members of the Afghan diaspora conveyed handwritten congratulatory messages through a guestbook before making their way to the hotel’s ballroom. The colours of the Afghan national flag illuminated the ballroom and stunning images of the country’s culture and scenery were displayed on a large screen.

Independence Day is officially celebrated on the 19th of August. On this day, the Afghan people commemorate the signing of the Anglo-Afghan (peace) Treaty, through which Afghanistan was granted independence from Britain after having fought three wars. Although Afghanistan was never officially part of the British Empire, the British had control over certain territories as well as Afghanistan’s foreign policy.

The evening commenced by playing the Afghan national anthem (“Surud-e-Milli”), followed by the Dutch national anthem, (the “Wilhelmus”). A chronological timeline of the country’s recent history was shown before the Ambassador delivered his opening remarks. During his speech Dr. Azizi reaffirmed the warm relations between Afghanistan and the Netherlands and praised the diaspora for their active engagement in rebuilding the country.

 

Mr. Peter Potman, Director of the Asia and Oceania Department at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Peter Potman, Director of the Asia and Oceania Department at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs was invited by the Ambassador to share a few words about the Dutch-Afghan relations. In his speech, Mr. Potman mentioned the Netherlands’ contribution to Afghanistan “on its journey to stability, democracy, and reconstruction” through development aid as well as participating in the NATO-mission Resolute Support, training the Afghan military forces in Mazar e- Sharif.

Another prime example of Dutch-Afghan cooperation that he mentioned is the Hazardous Area Life-support Organization (“HALO”) Trust Fund – a non-profit organization aimed towards removing debris left behind by war (particularly land mines)—, which was “… able to demine an area the size of 70% of the Netherlands”. Which, according to Mr. Potman, “is a significant step towards security for the local Afghan community”.

The Honorary Consul of Afghanistan, Mr. Ehsan Turabaz, Ms. Sheila Turabaz from Diplomat Magazine and Ambassador Azizi.

The guests were offered a delicious array of food originating from Afghan national cuisine, such as the flagship dish “Kabuli palao”, consisting of slow-cooked lamb and seasoned rice with raisins and carrots, “kofta” (lamb meatballs) and “korma” (an Afghan seasoned stew).

The Ambassador of Serbia, H.E. Mr. Petar Vico tasting samples of Afghan national cuisine.

Conversations in multiple languages (Farsi, Dutch, English and Pashto) could be heard all evening while traditional Afghan music filled the atmosphere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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