New Delhi: India and the European Union (EU) on Tuesday called for an immediate, permanent and comprehensive nationwide ceasefire in Afghanistan.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is in London to attend the G-7 meeting, where India has been invited as a guest, held talks with EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell Fontelles on Afghanistan.
In a joint statement on Afghanistan, Mr Jaishankar and Mr 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.
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, it added.
Reaffirming that security in Afghanistan is intrinsically linked with security in the region, External Affairs Minister and Mr 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, it said.
Both sides also reaffirmed their strong and continued support to an inclusive, Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process.