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Joint Press Statement on Afghanistan by the External Affairs Minister, Dr. S Jaishankar and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr. Borrell

May 04, 2021

In line with the 2020 India-EU Summit joint declaration, External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar and HRVP Borrell reaffirmed the commitment of both sides to continue to cooperate, based on their shared interests and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights, on international and regional issues of common interest on Afghanistan, and to support the country in its path towards peace, security, self-reliance and prosperity.

Calling for respecting and protecting the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar and HRVP Borrell reaffirmed their strong and continued support to an inclusive, Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process. As representatives of the world's largest democracies, External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar and HRVP Borrell reaffirmed that any political settlement in Afghanistan must protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghans, including women, youth and minorities, and build upon the economic, social, political and development gains achieved since 2001 under a democratic constitutional framework. External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar and HRVP Borrell reiterated that the nature of the peace settlement and its outcome will shape the future of international support and assistance.

External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar and HRVP Borrell jointly and firmly condemned the unacceptable level of violence perpetrated against the national forces of Afghanistan and civilians and the targeted assassinations of civil rights activists, media persons and Ulema. They reiterated their call for an immediate, permanent and comprehensive nationwide ceasefire. An effective and unconditional cessation of hostilities is essential for creating the appropriate conditions for the negotiations to proceed meaningfully, for building trust between the parties, in instilling confidence in the Afghan people and for demonstrating a genuine commitment of the Taliban to lasting reconciliation. External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar and HRVP Borrell agreed that a successful peace process requires the Taliban to engage in good faith, with a serious commitment towards finding a political solution. Both sides reiterated the importance of ensuring that the soil of Afghanistan should not be used by terrorist groups to threaten the security of India and the EU. Recalling the India–EU Summit joint declaration on International Terrorism, both sides condemned in the strongest terms all terrorist activities and reaffirmed their strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including its financing, the dismantling of terrorist infrastructures and countering radicalization, to ensure that Afghanistan is never again a safe haven for international terrorism.

External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar and HRVP Borrell underlined that the Afghanistan Conference in Geneva in November 2020 provided an important opportunity for the international community to confirm its continued commitment, both politically and financially, to a peaceful, prosperous and self-reliant Afghanistan. At that event, international partners of Afghanistan clearly spelt out the conditions for the future international political and financial support to Afghanistan. External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar and HRVP Borrell expect that the political process will lead to an Afghanistan that, as a signatory of the UN Charter, upholds and promotes the values, fundamental rights and principles enshrined therein, and does not constitute a threat to international peace and security. They will not support the restoration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as stated in UNSC Resolution 2513.

External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar and HRVP Borrell reiterated their commitment to respect and further promote a rules-based multilateral order with the United Nations at its core, including UNSC Resolution 2513, which provides a clear framework of conditionality regarding any future review of the UN sanctions regime in terms of commitments from the parties to be met and progress to be measured in this regard.

Reaffirming that security in Afghanistan is intrinsically linked with security in the region, External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar and HRVP Borrell agreed upon the need for Afghanistan’s neighbours and regional stakeholders to be active and honest facilitators in promoting a lasting, stable and peaceful resolution of the conflict. They underlined the importance of intra-regional initiatives promoting Afghanistan’s greater economic integration and connectivity, in cooperation with all neighbours in the region, based on existing infrastructure and trading arrangements, so that Afghanistan’s aid dependency can be reduced and its trade potential be realized to the fullest. Both sides underscored the importance of access to sea and ports for the expansion of Afghanistan’s trade, in accordance with UNCLOS provisions. External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar and HRVP Borrell committed to exploring initiatives to improve regional connectivity and ways to operationalize measures to facilitate trade and transit through regional development projects, including with Central Asia and South Asia, with a view to ensuring synergies and complementarities between their developmental cooperation with Afghanistan.

Combating terrorism, illicit economies, including drug trafficking and illegal mining, curbing money laundering and financing of terrorism, and preventing human trafficking will serve the cause of peace in Afghanistan as well as the betterment of the whole region.

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