|Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen (1st R) addresses a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Feb. 23, 2011. Denmark's ruling coalition and some main opposition parties have agreed on a two-year plan for the country's comprehensive engagement in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Lene Espersen said Wednesday. According to the new plan, Denmark's annual development assistance to Afghanistan would reach approximately 500 million Danish krones (92.6 million U.S. dollars).(Xinhua/Peng Zhongmin)
COPENHAGEN, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Denmark's ruling coalition and some main opposition parties have agreed on a two-year plan for the country's comprehensive engagement in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Lene Espersen said Wednesday.
The agreement on the Helmand Plan 2011-2012 focuses on security improvements, and civilian and political development in Afghanistan.
"The hand-over of security responsibilities will be initiated in 2011, in order to ensure that the Afghans can resume full responsibility for security by the end of 2014," Espersen told reporters.
"This means that we (will) gradually adjust the Danish engagement in the Helmand Province over the coming two years toward training, support and education of the Afghan security forces as well as strengthening of our civilian efforts."
Despite some disagreements in parliament about Denmark's joining the war in Afghanistan, the government and the Social Democrats, the Danish People's Party, the Social-Liberal Party and the Liberal Alliance now stand united behind the new plan, Espersen said.
"This is important for the Danish soldiers and their efforts. And it is important for the Danish international reputation as a responsible member of NATO," the foreign minister said.
According to the new plan, Denmark's annual development assistance to Afghanistan will reach approximately 500 million Danish krones (92.6 million U.S. dollars), making the war-torn Asian country the second largest recipient of Danish development assistance.
Currently 750 Danish troops are deployed in Afghanistan, taking part in some of the heaviest fighting in the south of the country. A total of 39 Danish soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan since the war started.
Special Report: Afghanistan Situation