EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs are gathered at an informal meeting at Brdu pri Kranju (Gymnich).
The two-day event hosted by Slovenian Foreign Ministers Dr Anže Logar and chaired by High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell provided a platform for an open debate on the Union’s future efforts in Afghanistan and the EU-China relationship.
In the discussion on Afganistan, the convergence of views has brought about a broad consensus based on the decisions previously reached at the extraordinary sessions of foreign ministers and ministers of the interior. There can be no doubt that member states wish to speak with one voice. The unanimous message is clear: the events we witnessed in 2015 and 2016 must not be repeated” said Dr. Logar.
He went on to explain that ministers also exchanged views on how to engage in dialogue with the Taliban authorities in order to ensure an inclusive transitional government that will continue to respect human rights, particularly the rights of women.
The future of Afghanistan remains a key issue for the EU. The EU remains committed to supporting the Afghan population, noted Josep Borrell.
He also stressed that engagement with Afghan power-holders following the Taliban takeover will depend on the fulfilment of the five benchmarks: commitment that Afghanistan will not serve as a base for terrorism for other countries; respect for human rights, in particular women’s rights, the rule of law and freedom of the media; establishment of an inclusive and representative transitional government through negotiations; free access for humanitarian and representative transitional government through negotiations, free access for humanitarian aid, respecting the procedures and conditions of its delivery; allowing the departure of foreign nationals and Afghans at-risk who wish to leave the country in line with the calls made in UN SC Resolution 2593 (2021) and the Taliban’s own commitments.
The first day of the ministerial meeting focused on a discussion about Afghanistan. The assembled ministers were first addressed by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and went on to deliberate on the continued evacuation from Afghanistan of the remaining EU citizens and local Afghan staff who provided support to enable the implementation of European programmes in the country. They stressed that to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and a possible migration wave towards Europe the European Union must cooperate with Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and other key international players. The ministers were unanimous on the urgent need for an agreement on the EU’s comprehensive strategy towards Afghanistan, which will include all the security considerations from migration to the danger of terrorist attacks and the illicit drugs trade.
The second day of the meeting featured a discussion on the EU-China relations. The ministers agreed that unity between and a coordinated approach of all EU member states towards China was of the utmost importance. The EU’s possible renewed engagement must be gradual, ordered and coordinated.
After the discussions, Minister Dr Logar hosted a working lunch with Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. The lunch gave the EU foreign ministers an opportunity to discuss the geopolitical and geoeconomic trends in the Indo-Pacific Region, advocating the pursuit of closer partnerships between like-minded countries in the region where India plays a predominant role./ibna