Monday, 25 Oct 2021 - 19 of Heshvan, 5782

EU sets benchmarks for engaging with the new Afghan-Taliban government

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Afghanistan was the main topic at an informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Slovenia.

The European Union is ready to engage with the new Taliban government in Kabul but the group must respect human rights, including those of women, and not allow Afghanistan to become a base for terrorism.

The EU has put several benchmarks to engage with the Taliban and the new Afghan government, especially regarding human rights and security.

European Union Foreign Ministers met in Slovenia for two days in the ‘’Gymnich’’ format, which means informally, a meeting mainly dedicated to Afghanistan.

The five benchmarks set by the EU, listed by EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell during a press conference following the ministerial meeting, are: Afghanistan cannot serve as a base for terrorism, basic human rights must be respected, particularly the rights of women, the Afghan government must be inclusive and allow access to humanitarian aid. The Taliban must also let foreign nationals and Afghans at-risk who wish to leave the country ‘’in line with the calls made in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2593 and the Taliban’s own commitments.’’

Borrell said that EU engagement with the Afghan power-holders following the Taliban takeover will depend on the fulfilment of the benchmarks.

“We have decided to work in a coordinated way, to coordinate our contacts with the Taliban, including through a presence in Kabul if the security conditions allow it,” Borrell told journalists.

‘’The European External Action Service will be in charge of the coordination to try to bring these people out of Afghanistan, that – if the security conditions are met, I insist – will have an antenna in Kabul,’’ he said.

The EU Foreign Ministers also agreed is to engage with the regional and relevant international partners in order to create a ‘’regional political platform of cooperation’’ with Afghanistan’s neighbours to face, all together, the challenges created by the new situation, especially the possible of a migration wave of Afghan refugees towards Europe.


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