The Council of the European Union (EU) says future political and financial support for Afghanistan will be “strongly linked” to the results of the intra-Afghan peace talks, a lasting peace and reconciliation to end the conflict.
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The Council, consisting of EU foreign ministers, reaffirmed its commitment to support Afghanistan in its path towards peace, security, stability and self-reliance, but added:
“The EU expects that the political process leads to an Afghanistan that, as a signatory of the UN Charter, upholds and promotes the values, rights and principles enshrined therein, and does not constitute a threat to international peace and security. Without genuine commitment on effectively enhancing governance, strengthening institutions and combating corruption, EU support will be reconsidered.”
The 13-point Council conclusions supported the power-sharing agreement between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation. They hoped this would help strengthen the country and pave the way for brokering an “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process” with the Taliban.
The ministers also condemned the Taliban’s violence, especially noting the May 12 attack on the maternity ward of a hospital in Kabul, despite signing the bilateral agreement with the U.S. in February. “We have to regret that the violence from the Taliban continues, a significant reduction of this level of violence is badly needed.”
The three-day Eid ceasefire was mentioned as a good starting point as the Council showed support for the Secretary General’s calls for a global humanitarian ceasefire amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But 3 days is not enough. Afghanistan and its people need a permanent ceasefire,” they said. The Council hopes the prisoner exchange, initiated by Ghani, will build trust and confidence between both sides to promptly start the intra-Afghan negotiations.
The statement also spoke against the Taliban’s demands for an Islamic Emirate and indicated no support for its return to the country.
“The EU supports without reservation UNSC Resolution 2513 of 10 March 2020, which neither recognises nor supports the restoration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”
They also called on all sides to mitigate the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and cooperate to tackle the spread of the virus in the country.