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Tale ved genåbning af ambassaden i Algier

12.03.2018  16:22
Udenrigsministerens tale

Minister(s), Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Marhabikum! Bienvenue! Welcome to the formal re-inauguration of the Royal Danish Embassy!
I have longed to say those words. The inauguration of a Danish Embassy is a rare pleasure. To be able to open in the largest country on the African continent, and to be greeted with the genuine warmth and hospitality of the Algerian people, makes this a special treat.
Sadly, this opening takes place, when Denmark is in mourning following the recent loss of His Royal Highness, Prince Henrik, husband of the Queen of Denmark. Our thoughts go to the Queen and the Royal Family. We will forever be grateful for His Royal Highness’ dedication to promote Danish interests abroad.
While paying our respect to the Royal Family it is, however, important to mark this special moment our bilateral relationship.
And it is truly exciting for me to visit - for the first time - Algeria. A country  known for its stability, its impressive record of reconciliation and social equity. A key player in the security architecture in both North Africa and the Sahel. A country that has shown a determined commitment against terrorism. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the government of Algeria for all these efforts.

Algeria also has an impressive international record of accomplishment. You have played a key role in the UN and have taken a lead in the fight for de-colonization. You have also played an important role on the African continent, in the Organization of African Unity and today in the African Union. I salute the efforts of Commissioner Chergui and the High Representative Lamamra in the AU for the important role that the AU plays in conflict resolution.

Algeria also has close relations to Europe and to Denmark. Our relations are not new. In fact, Vikings travelled and traded here and tradesmen and explorers from your region came to Denmark.
Strong commercial ties have historically promoted peaceful co-existence between our countries. However, despite our rather small size, Denmark has not always been the peaceful seafaring nation we are today.

Apparently, in 1770, the Danish/Norwegian navy decided to bombard Algiers as the Algerian King, Baba Mohammed ben-Osman, did not agree to a peace deal – on Danish terms - to protect our lucrative business in the Mediterranean against piracy. Without going into too many details about an unfortunate outbreak of typhoid amongst the crew and a rather effective Algerian counter strike, the attack had to be abandoned after two days and in 1772, a new peace deal was signed. Since then, our two countries have fortunately not been engaged in warfare against each other again.
In more recent time, a Danish officer by the name A. W. Dinesen, the grandfather of the famous Danish author Karen Blixen, took part in the French conquest of Algeria in 1837-39. However, he became so fascinated by the Emir Abd el Kader and convinced of his righteousness that upon his return to Denmark, he wrote a substantial work on the Emir, praising his thoughts and leadership.

Today, we celebrate an important step in the strengthening of our relationship. The re-opening of the Royal Danish Embassy will energize our political and economic relations to mutual benefit. Accompanying me on this visit are representatives of some of the finest, Danish companies, that have proven themselves as first movers in their respective fields. Some of them are already well established in Algeria. Others wish to create partnerships, invest and produce in Algeria. I wish them all the very best on the Algerian business market and I hope that, with the help of the Embassy and relevant Algerian authorities, even more Danish companies will come.
Whether in the time of the Vikings or today, trade and commerce remain essential to the advancement of our societies. Exchange of goods and ideas is what drives us forward. I am certain that the re-opening of the Embassy will help advance our cooperation and mutual understanding built on trust and respect.
Shukran djazilan. Merci. Thank you very much.