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Speech by Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas in the Arria-formula meeting of the Security Council on “What can the Security Council do to support the peace process in Afghanistan?”, November 20

20.11.2020 - Speech

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Excellencies,

Colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen,

The start of Afghan peace negotiations in September was a moment of hope. But we all knew that the way forward would be difficult. Today, as you all stated, we see positive developments, but also serious difficulties.

Moving ahead, I conclude from our discussion that the following points will be key:

  • Afghanistan needs a ceasefire – the endless and excessive violence has to stop!
  • The Afghan Government and the Taliban should step up their negotiation efforts – irrespective of external factors. There is no time to lose!
  • The international community needs to be steadfast in supporting Afghanistan. The withdrawal of international troops must remain conditions-based: progress in the peace process and the security situation on the ground are the essential factors. This has always been the consensus among Allies in our support to the Afghan Security Forces.

Our goal remains a peace settlement that preserves the fundamental achievements of the last nineteen years and of Afghanistan’s constitutional order.

Like the Afghan people, we want an Afghanistan

  • where all communities live in peace,
  • where human rights and fundamental freedoms are respected and protected
  • and from where no threats to other countries evolve.

Germany will continue its longstanding assistance to Afghanistan and the peace process:

  • Next week, we will reaffirm our support at the 2020 Afghanistan Conference in Geneva.
  • We will garner broader backing for the peace process in the “International Peace Support Group”, which we hope to launch very soon.
  • We will also continue working with partners from Norway, Qatar, Uzbekistan and Indonesia.
  • And we will ensure a proper hand-over of our co-penholdership of the Afghanistan dossier to our Security Council successors.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Only Afghans can decide their future. But the international community – and the Security Council in particular – need to support them. Together, we have gone a long way down the road to peace. And it is on this road we should continue.

Thank you very much!

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