The 2020 Afghanistan Conference kicks begins today (23 November) with the EU co-organizing and participating in number of events taking place ahead of tomorrow's (24 November) plenary session. Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič will co-chair, together with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan Mohammad Haneef Atmar an event on sustainable peace (livestream available), with a focus on promoting human rights and empowering women, and also on refugees and returnees.
International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen will deliver a speech at an event on anti-corruption and good governance, and in doing so will emphasize the EU's expectation that the Afghan government delivers on its reform agenda. EU officials will also participate in a third side event taking place ahead of the conference, on aid effectiveness.
Tomorrow, EU High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell will deliver a speech at the opening session of the conference, when he will outline the EU's position on the ongoing intra-Afghan peace negotiations, as well as the conditions for the EU's support, which were presented in a recent paper co-authored with key international donors.
Later, Commissioner Urpilainen will deliver the EU's financial assistance pledge at the conference. Both interventions will be available on EbS. More information on EU-Afghanistan relations is available in a dedicated factsheet and on the website of the EU Delegation in Kabul.
EU reconfirms support for Afghanistan at 2020 Geneva Conference
#Coronavirus global response: EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to #Afghanistan and further support
As part of the EU's global coronavirus response, an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight will depart on 15June from Maastricht, Netherlands, to Kabul, Afghanistan. The flight will deliver 100 tonnes of life-saving materials to supply EU-funded humanitarian partners. The flight is fully EU funded and is part of ongoing Air Bridge flights to critical areas of the world.
The EU is also providing a new aid package of €39 million to boost coronavirus response as well as to help victims of war, forced displacement and natural disasters in Afghanistan.
Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said: "At this difficult time, the EU continues to stand by the most vulnerable in Afghanistan. The coronavirus pandemic poses huge logistical challenges for the humanitarian community, while the needs remain high in critical areas. With this air bridge, the EU is delivering vital assistance such as food, nutrition, water, shelter to ensure aid reaches as many people as possible and to help support the people of Afghanistan.”
EU humanitarian projects in Afghanistan focus on providing emergency health care, shelter, food assistance, access to clean water and sanitation facilities, as well as various protection services supporting women and children. The full press release is available online.
#Afghanistan - 'There are few words that can do justice to the horrors'
In a statement on the terrorist attacks in Afghanistan today, the EU said that words could not do justice to the horrors inflicted. The high representative described the attacks as clear violations of International Humanitarian Law, for which the perpetrators will have to bear the consequences: "There are few words that can do justice to the horrors we have witnessed today in Afghanistan. At the same moment an attack was targeting a maternity ward in Kabul, a terrorist detonated his bomb in the middle of a funeral in Nangarhar. Dozens of innocent civilians were killed or injured in these most reprehensible acts of terror.
"To target and kill mothers, newly born babies and nurses, as well as bereaved and mourning families, are acts of evil and show an appalling degree of inhumanity. The attack on the Dasht-e-Barchi hospital maternity ward, run by Médecins Sans Frontières, also seems to have targeted international aid workers. The European Union stands in solidarity with them. These acts constitute clear violations of International Humanitarian Law, for which the perpetrators will have to bear the consequences. Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones and we wish those who were injured a quick recovery.
"The Afghan people deserve peace. For too long has their country been ripped apart by terrorism and violence that no political objective can ever justify. A permanent ceasefire is absolutely vital, and the European Union calls on all stakeholders in Afghanistan and the region to make it a reality."
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