Foreign ministers discuss future of post-Taliban Afghanistan

Foreign ministers of the 15 EU Member States
expressed concern for the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan
and discussed the future of the country in the event of the
removal of the Taliban regime. At an extraordinary meeting in
Luxembourg on 17 October, the ministers adopted a plan for the
Union’s future dealings with Afghanistan.

Although the final declaration of the General Affairs
Council of 17 October declared “wholehearted support” for
the US military operation against terrorist bases in
Afghanistan, there were some signs that European support
has begun to erode. Italy’s Foreign Minister Renato
Ruggiero said in Luxembourg that it was important to end
the bombing campaign as soon as possible because “civilian
victims have repercussions on the public opinion of both
Arab and Western countries”.

The Council declared emergency
humanitarian aid to Afghanistan “an absolute priority” for
the EU. They pledged to mobilise aid amounting to more than
320 million euro.

The EU is also concerned with the
post-Taliban future of Afghanistan. The ministers agreed a
plan for the Union’s future proceedings on Afghanistan:

  • the establishment in Afghanistan of a stable,
    legitimate and broadly representative government,
    expressing the will of the people;
  • the essential role of the UN in seeking a peace plan
    for Afghanistan;
  • maintaining absolute priority for emergency
    humanitarian aid;
  • a plan for the reconstruction of the country;
  • the regional dimension of the stabilisation of
    Afghanistan.

They instructed the Belgian Presidency,
the EU’s High Representative Javier Solana, and the
Commission to co-ordinate these efforts with the United
Nations. Mr Solana is expected to propose an action plan
for Afghanistan.

The EU intends to deepen its relations
with Afghanistan’s neighbours to promote stability in the
region. A number of co-operation measures are planned with
Pakistan, India, Iran and Central Asian countries.

 

The European Union has taken numerous measures to combat
terrorism since the 11 September attacks in New York and
Washington, notably:

  • measures against the sources that fund terrorism,
    such as the political agreement on the Directive against
    money laundering, and freezing the assets of persons and
    organisations linked to the Taliban;
  • list of terrorist organisations;
  • co-operation between national intelligence
    services;
  • increased air travel safety;
  • steps towards a European arrest warrant;
  • new anti-terrorism group within Europol, the EU's
    police agency.

 

 

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