Tag Archives: Afghanistan

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.

Half a billion EU aid to Afghanistan

The European Commission has today announced a financial package worth €474 million to support state building and public sector reforms, health, justice, and elections, as well as to address migration and displacement challenges in Afghanistan. Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, made the announcement today at the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, signing the financing agreements with the Afghan Minister of Finance Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi.

 

“The EU stands side by side with Afghanistan and its people to build a stronger future for the country. The EU’s new assistance package of €474 million will contribute towards addressing peace and security challenges and set up the foundations for a more stable and economically sustainable society. Through joint efforts we intend to reduce aid-dependency and invest in democratic governance for the benefit all citizens of the country”, Commissioner Mimica said.

The EU support package consists of:

Budget support through a State and Resilience Building Contract: the EU will support the Government of Afghanistan in pursuing its reform agenda with an allocation of €311 million. Funding will support: public sector reform and the fight against corruption; basic service delivery and gender equality; public financial management and macro-economic stability with a particular focus on domestic revenue mobilisation. Human rights, democratic values, peace and gender equality will continue to be at the core of EU action and in its discussions with the Government of Afghanistan.

Justice sector: €31 million will support justice reform by supporting the Attorney General’s office to become more effective and Afghan civil society to ensure that the Afghan justice system is accountable to citizens.

Health and nutrition: zero hunger and quality health for all remain central priorities of the European Union in the country. With a new €80 million support package, the EU will work in partnership with the Government of Afghanistan to improve the health and nutrition of the population, in line with the national plans and strategies until 2020.

Electoral process support: an ad hoc instrument worth €15.5 million will support the presidential and provincial council elections in 2019.

Migration and forced displacement: The European Union and the Government of Afghanistan signed a new commitment worth €37 million, which reinforces EU assistance to Afghanistan in addressing migration and forced displacement challenges, in particular the reintegration of people on the move and returnees in Afghanistan. This commitment brings the total EU contribution to the challenges in the region in this field to almost € 230 million.

We believe that this is the moment to begin serious peace talks. All of us at this table have something to contribute. On the European Union’s side, we are ready: as a facilitator; as a reliable provider of incentives; as a partner of all countries in the region; as a force for peace and cooperation; and, most importantly, as a reliable friend of the Afghan people” EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said, addressing the Geneva conference.

Taliban captures Tarinkot base

Taliban group stormed and seized a military base located in Tarinkot, the administrative center of the province of Uruzgan. Reportedly a unit of the Afghan National Army was stationed at the base, sharing it with representatives of the  police.

According to the Afghan media, a total of 25 soldiers and police were stationed in the base, 13 among them were killed in the attack.

According to information published by Taliban in social media, they killed 10 miliary and took 13 hostages. The authorities of Uruzgan Province and a representative of the Afghan Ministry of Defense confirmed the seizure of the military base without specifying the total number of casualties.

 

Multiple blasts at Kabul polling stations

Explosions reported from polling stations in Kabul hours after the voting procedure for Afghanistan parliament elections started. There is no further detail at the moment, however TOLONews agency reports high turnout from early morning hours.

TOLOnews’ reporter Nematullah Ahmadi reports from northern Badakhshan province that Independent Election  Commission  (IEC) staff have not received enough training to use biometric devices properly – which has caused major problems for voters. Despite this he says turnout is huge in Badakhshan.

The active participation of women is reported from different provinces. Some of them made it clear to the reporters they will vote for women-candidates, representing their interests.

The recent violence in Afghanistan, notably yesterday’s attack in Kandahar and recent assaults on civilians and candidates for the parliamentary elections during political rallies, aims at dissuading voters to exercise their democratic right. But nobody can deprive the Afghan people of the right to decide their own future,” said the statement of the European External Action Service (EEAS) ahead of the elections.

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