The EU and Pakistan reaffirm their determination to strengthen in a strategic way their1ong-term, forward-looking and broad-based partnership for peace, development and prosperity. “The Strategic Engagement Plan” that the two sides signed in June 2019 provides a framework for their bilateral engagements and ambitions in this area.
The EU and Pakistan wish to jointly reflect on the current state of play of the Afghan Peace Process, and encourage its unwavering continuation. They reaffirm their strong support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and welcome the progress made in the last two years, including the signature, on 29 February 2020, of the agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban and the parallel Declaration between the Government of Afghanistan and the U.S., in Doha and Kabul respectively. Both documents are important, but initial, steps towards the start of genuine Intra-Afghan Peace negotiations in order to find a just and durable solution to the conflict.
The EU and Pakistan welcome the start of the process of direct Intra-Afghan Negotiations and the new chapter this opens. Since Intra-Afghan Negotiations are Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, therefore, 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. The EU and Pakistan urge the international community to support Afghanistan for creating conditions for the timely and early return of Afghan refugees.
The EU and Pakistan welcomed the mutual Eid ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban, as a highly relevant confidence-building measure between the two sides. Continued violence in Afghanistan is in sharp contradiction with 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, therefore, call on the parties 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 underline the importance of cross-border and intra-regional activities and initiatives that promote the region’s economic integration and development, and express their willingness to engage in constructive initiatives thereon. They are 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.