EU, Pakistan call for peace and scourge of unlawful activities to be curbed

In a joint declaration issued by the European Union and Pakistan on Wednesday evening, the EU and Pakistan said both sides should make earnest efforts to achieve lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and rid the country of illicit activities.

In a tweet on the declaration, Roland Kobia, the EU Special Representative for Afghanistan, said the declaration focused on the strengthening of achievements in the country over the past 19 years, notably that relating to youth and women, and the call for a “lasting humanitarian ceasefire”.

He said this was “in response to global appeal by UNSG [United Nations Secretary General Antonio] Guterres.

The declaration meanwhile stated that the EU and Pakistan reaffirm their determination to strengthen in a strategic way their long-term, forward-looking and broad-based partnership for peace, development and prosperity.

They stated that they are both “convinced that combatting terrorism, the illicit economy, including drug trafficking and illegal mining, opposing money laundering and financing of terrorism, and preventing smuggling of human beings will serve the cause of peace in Afghanistan as well as the betterment of the whole region.”

The two parties stated that since intra-Afghan negotiations are Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, “its success depends primarily upon the Taliban and the Afghan government, and both sides should make earnest efforts for achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“These negotiations should be held with the aim of protecting and strengthening the achievements of the last 19 years in the areas of socio-economic development, human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghans, notably women and youth, and lay the democratic foundation of a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.

Both parties also urged the international community to support Afghanistan in order for them to create conditions for the timely and early return of Afghan refugees.

The declaration pointed out that continued violence in Afghanistan is in sharp contrast to regional aspirations for peace. “It also complicates the efficient tackling of the exceptional threat Afghanistan and the region face with the COVID-19 pandemic,” the EU and Pakistan stated.

As such, they called on the parties to the conflict to observe a lasting humanitarian ceasefire, “in response to the global appeal by UN Secretary General Guterres, and to strive towards a complete elimination of violence as a clear demonstration of their genuine commitment to lasting peace and reconciliation.”

The EU and Pakistan also underlined the importance of cross-border and intra-regional activities and initiatives that promote the region’s economic integration and development.