The European Union (EU) and Pakistan on Wednesday released a joint statement, reaffirming their determination to strengthen their ties and called on warring parties in Afghanistan to observe a lasting humanitarian ceasefire.
Reflecting on the current state of play of the Afghan peace process, they encouraged its “unwavering continuation” and reiterated their support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
Welcoming the progress made in the last two years, they voiced their support for the U.S.-Taliban agreement signed in February 2020 and the parallel Declaration between the Government of Afghanistan and the U.S.
“Both documents are important, but initial, steps towards the start of genuine intra-Afghan Peace negotiations in order to find a just and durable solution to the conflict,” the statement said.
They asked the parties to eliminate violence and demonstrate their “earnest efforts” for achieving lasting peace and stability while protecting the gains of Afghanistan.
The peace negotiations should be held with the aim of “protecting and strengthening the achievements of the last 19 years in the areas of socio-economic development, human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghans, notably women and youth, and lay the democratic foundation of a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.”
Referring to the “highly relevant confidence-building measure” of the Eid ceasefire, the EU and Pakistan said the continued violence was in “sharp contradiction with regional aspirations for peace.”
“The EU and Pakistan, therefore, call on the parties to observe a lasting humanitarian ceasefire, in response to the global appeal by UN Secretary General [António] Guterres, and to strive towards a complete elimination of violence as a clear demonstration of their genuine commitment to lasting peace and reconciliation.”
They also said that combatting terrorism, the illicit economy, including drug trafficking and illegal mining, opposing money laundering and financing of terrorism, and preventing smuggling of human beings will “serve the cause of peace” in Afghanistan as well as the betterment of the whole region.
“The Strategic Engagement Plan” between EU and Pakistan was signed in June 2019 and it provides a framework for their bilateral engagements and ambitions in strengthening their strategic long-term, forward-looking and broad-based partnership for peace, development and prosperity.