Afghanistan: Joint Statement of Special Representatives and Envoys from the EU and Central Asian republics after meeting in Brussels
The third meeting of the EU and Central Asia Special Representatives and Special Envoys for Afghanistan and the EU Special Representative for Central Asia provided a platform for a comprehensive exchange on developments in Afghanistan and their impact on the region and beyond. The participants underlined the importance of lasting peace and sustainable development and welcomed opportunities for further EU and Central Asia cooperation in support of the people of Afghanistan. During their meeting, they also held an exchange via video link with a group of Afghan women in Kabul.
The Special Representatives and Envoys
- Reaffirmed the strong commitment to see Afghanistan develop into a peaceful, stable and prosperous country with long-term prospects for lasting peace, in line with UN General Assembly Resolution A/Res/77/10 of 10 November 2022. In that regard, underlined the importance of the establishment of an inclusive and representative government through a credible and legitimate political process in which meaningful participation of all political stakeholders, including women and ethnic and religious groups and minorities, is respected.
- In view of the dire economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, acknowledged the efforts of the international community to assist the people of Afghanistan, including by finding solutions to address the challenges facing the economy, and affirmed the importance of sustained engagement in support of the Afghan people. Encouraged the Taliban to create favourable conditions for economic activity, the financial and banking sector and the restoration of social-economic infrastructure in Afghanistan.
- Discussed the sharply deteriorating human rights situation in Afghanistan and, in that regard, emphasized the importance of upholding civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of all, including for women, children and persons belonging to ethnic and religious groups and minorities and of promoting respect for the rule of law and fundamental freedoms to achieve economic and political stability and ultimately lasting peace.
- Expressed strong concern about secondary schools remaining closed for girls in most parts of the country and denounced additional restrictions imposed by the Taliban on Afghan women regarding their participation in tertiary education, and the ability of women to work for national and international NGOs. Called on the Taliban to ensure that all girls and women can attend school, work and participate fully in public life. Recalled the need for the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence to be upheld at all times and for International Humanitarian Law to be respected.
- Expressed strong concern about the security situation, in particular the threat posed by terrorist groups to Afghanistan and the region, and called on the Taliban to take concrete steps against all terrorist organizations and prevent the territory of Afghanistan from being used as a safe haven for hosting, financing or exporting terrorism and violent extremism to other countries.
- Acknowledged the ban by the Taliban from April 2022 on illicit drug cultivation and called for its full implementation, in view of reports of a substantial increase in opium cultivation in Afghanistan, as reported by the UNODC Opium Cultivation in Afghanistan survey (November 2022), and the possible implications in terms of the illicit economy and trafficking of drugs.
- Reaffirmed their expectation that the Taliban live up to their commitments regarding the safe, secure and orderly departure from Afghanistan of all Afghans willing to leave the country. Further, re-iterated their call on the Taliban to create an inclusive environment in Afghanistan allowing all Afghans to play a constructive role, and making a voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced persons possible.
- Highlighted the central role that regional cooperation can play in promoting long-term stability and economic and social development in Afghanistan and the region, and welcomed efforts by regional countries and organisations, as well as international partners, in that regard.
- Reiterated the need for continued dialogue and coordination of regional formats and the wider international community to maintain a unified voice on Afghanistan. In that regard, also emphasized the importance of continued EU-Central Asia dialogue.
- Expressed their full support for the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission (UNAMA) as spelt out in Security Council Resolution 2626 (2022) and their work on the ground in Afghanistan, and the role of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Afghanistan.
- The Special Representatives and Envoys from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan informed the participants about Kazakhstan’s initiative to set up a UN Regional Centre of Sustainable Development for Central Asia and Afghanistan in Almaty, Tajikistan’s initiative to create a reliable security belt around Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan’s proposal to establish an International Negotiation Group on Afghanistan under the auspices of the UN.
- The Special Representatives and Envoys from Central Asia called on the EU to continue providing assistance for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan.
- The Special Representatives and Envoys agreed to continue meeting in this regional format on a regular basis at alternating venues as a platform for consultation, coordination and cooperation in an effort to support the people of Afghanistan.
Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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