Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Stoltenberg welcomes Afghanistan violence reduction

“I welcome today’s announcement that an understanding has been reached on a significant reduction in violence across Afghanistan.”
“This is a critical test of the Taliban’s willingness and ability to reduce violence, and contribute to peace in good faith.”

“This could pave the way for negotiations among Afghans, sustainable peace, and ensuring the country is never again a safe haven for terrorists.
NATO Allies have been in Afghanistan since 2001. NATO currently has 16,000 troops in the country to support the Afghan security forces with training and funding, so that they can create the conditions for peace. NATO remains committed to Afghanistan’s long-term security and stability”

Space as NATO “operational domain”

‘Two weeks from now, NATO leaders will meet in London. Together, we will mark our Alliance’s seventieth anniversary. And look to the future” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the meetings of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

‘Tomorrow, Foreign Ministers will finalize our preparations for the London meeting. This leaders’ meeting is timely. Not least because questions are being asked about the strength of the transatlantic relationship. There are indeed differences among Allies on a range of different issues. Such as trade, climate, the Iran nuclear deal. And more recently, the situation in North East Syria. But differences and doubts among Allies are not new. Despite them, NATO has only grown stronger over the last seventy years. And we continue to provide security for almost 1 billion people.     

“In fact, Europe and North America are doing more together in NATO today than we have for decades. We are strengthening our deterrence and defence, with more forces at higher readiness. Stepping up our response against cyber attacks and hybrid threats. And playing a key role in the fight against international terrorism, including with training missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Because ultimately, being part of a strong transatlantic Alliance is in the national interest of each and every one of our countries.  Everything we do must be underpinned by fair burden sharing. We are now in the fifth consecutive year of rising defence spending across European Allies and Canada. With more than $100 billion extra invested in defence. This is unprecedented progress. And we are determined to keep up the momentum.

“In a fast-changing world, NATO continues to adapt to face strategic challenges. And tomorrow, we will take another important step. I expect ministers will agree to recognize space as an operational domain, alongside air, land, sea, and cyber. Space is essential to the Alliance’s defence and deterrence. For early warning, communication and navigation.

“Around 2,000 satellites currently orbit the Earth. Around half are owned by NATO countries. So recognising space as an operational domain will be a clear sign that we continue to strengthen our deterrence and defence in all areas. Our approach will remain defensive and fully in line with international law. NATO has no intention to put weapons in space. But we need to ensure our missions and operations have the right support.

We will also address a range of other issues. Including NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism. Our training missions in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to play an important role in preventing the resurgence of ISIS and other terrorist groups.

“Our work to counter hybrid threats will also be on the agenda. Allies are stepping up, including with new baseline requirements for resilient telecommunications, including 5G. And our first counter-hybrid support team is in Montenegro this week.  We will also discuss other strategic issues, including Russia the implications of the rise of China, the future of arms control, and energy security.”

“NATO is the only forum that brings nations from Europe and North America together, to address strategic security challenges NATO remains the only guarantor of European and transatlantic security. And it is the responsibility of each of us to maintain and strengthen our unity. In order to ensure credible deterrence and defence for all of us.” 

Greece faces new migration wave

Greece intends to reinforce border patrols, move asylum-seekers from its islands to the mainland and speed up deportations in an effort to deal with a resurgence in migrant flows mostly from Afghanistan, using Turkey as a transit country.

The government’s Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence convened on August 31  for an emergency session after the arrival this week of more than a dozen migrant boats carrying around 600 people, the first simultaneous arrival of its kind in three years.

The increase in arrivals has caused an additional pressure on Greece’s overcrowded island camps, all of which are operating at least twice their capacity.

Moria camp on the island of Lesbos (Greece) – a facility where conditions have been described by aid organizations as inhumane – is also holding the largest number of people since the deal between the EU and Turkey was agreed.

The government said it would move asylum-seekers to mainland facilities, increase border surveillance together with the EU  border patrol agency Frontex and NATO, and boost police patrols across Greece to identify rejected asylum seekers who have remained in the country.

EU supports Afghanistan peace process

We then discussed our support to the Afghanistan peace process. You might have seen the conclusions that have been adopted that highlight the concrete actions that the European Union is willing and ready to take in support of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, hopefully to be started already next week –  as it was announced that intra-Afghan negotiations might start already next week” the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said, while concluding the work of the meeting of Foreign ministers Council in Luxembourg.

“We have been supporting enormously the work of the Afghan legitimate authorities in their preparation for that. I am glad to see that yesterday, President of Afghanistan, Ashraf] Ghani announced the formation of the negotiating team and a senior council to lead them. I really hope that, also following our talks in Kabul a couple of weeks ago, this can open the way for negotiations that can lead to peace in Afghanistan without pre-judging neither the electoral process nor the achievements that the Afghan population has managed to reach, in particular on the rights of women, minorities and human rights in general terms.”

The Council recommends that direct negotiations between Afghans, with the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban at their core begin as soon as possible.

It confirms the EU’s readiness to support the peace process and its implementation, wit the aim of preserving and building on the political, economic and social achievements of the people of Afghanistan since 2001, which should be irreversible. The EU stands ready to support the following aspects of the process:

  • to help make the peace process inclusive;
  • to assist with reforms, including security sector reform;
  • to act as a guarantor of a peace process, if requested by the parties;
  • to assist with reintegration of fighters and their families and
  • to promote regional trade and connectivity.

Pompeo announces measures against ICC

In view of today’s US announcement, the European Union expresses its serious concern about the measures adopted and reiterates its strong support to the International Criminal Court.

“As the world’s first and only permanent international criminal court for the investigation and prosecution of the most serious crimes, the ICC demonstrates the international community’s resolve to end impunity and to foster a culture of accountability”, the European External Actions Service (EEAS) says.

“An effective Court is an indispensable instrument of the international community to combat impunity and promote a rules-based international order.State cooperation is vital to achieving accountability for the most serious crimes. The European Union and its Member States remain committed to the full cooperation with the ICC to guarantee its full effectiveness and efficiency and expect States to lend the necessary assistance to the Court.”

https://twitter.com/IntlCrimCourt/status/1106625857953632256
“Along with our international partners, we will continue to work towards a shared rules-based global order, with multilateralism as its key principle, and to promote the universality and preserve the integrity of the Rome Statute. We are ready to further engage with both States Parties and non-state parties on these important issues.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the US will deny or revoke visas for International Criminal Court (ICC) staff.
The decision it taken to deter a potential investigation by the judicial body into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by US troops in Afghanistan.
Mr. Pompeo, speaking from the State Department said the restrictions include “persons who take or have taken action to request or further such an investigation.Secretary Pompeo said the policy had already taken effect, but declined to name who had been restricted or would face future restrictions.
Pompeo also warned about potential economic sanctions “if the ICC does not change its course.”
ICC spokesperson Fadi El Abdallah said that the court was aware of Pompeo‘s statement. In a comment he said that the Court is “non-political and an independent and impartial judicial institution crucial for ensuring accountability for the gravest crimes under international law.”
“The ICC, as a court of law, will continue to do its independent work, undeterred, in accordance with its mandate and the overarching principle of the rule of law,” he added.
In November 2017, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda sought authorization to open an investigation into crimes connected to the conflict in Afghanistan. According to an announcement from the time, Bensouda‘s office “determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe” that members of the US armed forces and the CIA committed “war crimes.” The ICC has not yet made a decision on whether to authorize that investigation.

NATO celebrates anniversary in April 2019 in Washington

NATO Foreign Ministers concluded two days of meetings in Brussels on Wednesday (5 December 2018), focused on issues including the INF Treaty, the Sea of Azov, the Western Balkans, Afghanistan, and the Alliance’s new training mission in Iraq.

The Foreign Ministers of the nations contributing to the Resolute Support Mission, met today in Brussels to reaffirm our steadfast commitment to ensuring long-term security and stability in Afghanistan.

“We express our utmost appreciation for the crucial contribution of the men and women serving in our Resolute Support Mission and in the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces. We pay tribute to those who have lost their lives or have been wounded in support of a better future for Afghanistan” the statement of the Foreign ministers said.

We reaffirm the decisions taken at our Summit in July 2018 on our continued support to Afghanistan, and we recall Afghanistan’s commitments, including to continue on the path to reform covering, inter alia, the promotion of human rights, good and inclusive governance, and combating corruption”- the Ministers confirmed.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted that Foreign Ministers will next meet in Washington in April 2019, marking 70 years since the Alliance’s founding. He added that Allied leaders will also meet later next year.

NATO accuses Russia in violation of Nuclear Forces Treaty

NATO Foreign Ministers are meeting December 4 to begin two days of talks on critical issues for the Alliance’s shared security. Ministers will discuss NATO’s cooperation with Georgia and Ukraine, transatlantic security, and the Alliance’s approach to the Middle East and North Africa. The Western Balkans and the security situation in Afghanistan will also be high on the agenda.

During the first day of the discussions the allies have concluded that Russia has developed and fielded a new missile system in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a key arms control agreement which has been crucial in upholding NATO’s security for over 30 years. At a meeting  NATO Foreign Ministers called on Russia to urgently return to full and verifiable compliance, saying: “it is now up to Russia to preserve the INF Treaty.” Allies expressed firm commitment to preserving effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.

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