Ashgabat, 27 May 2023 (TDI): On May 26, 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Turkmenistan hosted the fourth Central Asia and European Union (CA-EU) Special Representatives and Special Envoys for Afghanistan meeting.

This meeting brought together esteemed representatives from the EU, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, along with the EU Special Representative for Central Asia and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, R. Otunbayeva.

Also present were the Ambassador of Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, the Consuls General of Turkmenistan in Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif, and the directors of the World Bank branches in Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, who joined via videoconference.

CA-EU representatives discussing Afghan stability and cooperation during a meeting
CA-EU representatives discussing Afghan stability and cooperation during a meeting.

The meeting primarily focused on key issues concerning regional security, development, and the socio-economic situation in Afghanistan. Participants engaged in a detailed and comprehensive exchange of views, highlighting the significance of these regular gatherings in formulating strategies for peace and security in Afghanistan.

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This meeting served as a valuable platform for sharing in-depth information on recent events and the economic landscape in Afghanistan. It also provided an opportunity to discuss further cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

The participating parties expressed their unwavering commitment to transforming Afghanistan into a stable, peaceful, and prosperous nation. They acknowledged the ongoing efforts of the international community in extending assistance to the Afghan people.

During the meeting, the attendees discussed the prospects for economic stabilization and recovery in Afghanistan. They emphasized the importance of creating favorable conditions for economic activities, enhancing the financial and banking sector, and restoring the socioeconomic infrastructure.

The participants unanimously stressed the need for continued dialogue and collaboration within the framework of the “Central Asia – European Union” format.

They shared the view that broad consolidation of the international community, particularly the Central Asian region, and authoritative global entities are essential to stabilize the political, economic, and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

The meeting expressed a keen interest in fostering close cooperation to implement joint projects aimed at the reconstruction of Afghanistan and its integration into the global system of relations.

As a tangible outcome of their discussions, the participants adopted a Joint Statement, signifying their unified commitment to the shared goals and objectives discussed throughout the meeting.

The meeting of CA-EU representatives for Afghanistan served as a pivotal platform for addressing regional security, development, and socio-economic challenges.

It highlighted the importance of continued collaboration and international cooperation to stabilize Afghanistan and support its journey toward lasting peace and prosperity.

Joint Statement: Commitment to Peace, Prosperity, and Cooperation in Afghanistan

In a momentous gathering held on May 26, 2023, in Ashgabat, the Special Representatives and Special Envoys for Afghanistan from the European Union, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Republic of Uzbekistan, alongside the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, convened for the fourth meeting in the EU and Central Asia Special Representatives and Special Envoys format.

This distinguished assembly provided an invaluable opportunity for an extensive dialogue on the prevailing developments and the economic landscape in Afghanistan. It fostered discussions on continued cooperation in assisting the Afghan people and the deepening of collaboration in areas of mutual interest.

Furthermore, the meeting facilitated interactions with esteemed personalities including the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Roza Otunbayeva, the Head of UNAMA, and the World Bank Country Directors for Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, Melinda Good and Andrei Mikhnev, respectively.

Reaffirming Commitment to Afghanistan’s Prosperity

The Special Representatives and Envoys unanimously reiterated their unwavering dedication to the people of Afghanistan and their earnest desire to witness the nation transform into a stable, peaceful, and prosperous country, fostering enduring prospects for peace.

They emphasized the significance of upholding the principles and expectations previously expressed in Tashkent, Almaty, and Brussels, concerning the human rights and security situation.

Moreover, the participants underlined the paramount importance of establishing an inclusive and representative government, while safeguarding the civil, political, socio-economic, and cultural rights of all Afghans.

Addressing Humanitarian Concerns and Urging Progress

Acknowledging the alarming erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the dire economic and humanitarian situation, the participants recalled the concerns expressed in UN Security Council Resolution 2681 (2023).

Despite the challenging circumstances, they acknowledged the commendable efforts of the international community to provide principled assistance to the Afghan people in accordance with international law and universally recognized norms and principles.

In this regard, the Special Representatives and Envoys called upon the Taliban to revoke all bans that restrict the rights of Afghan girls and women, hindering their access to education, employment, and participation in public life.

These bans, in addition to constituting severe human rights violations, impede the delivery of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, stifle the potential for economic prosperity, and hinder the nation’s long-term stability and peace.

Economic Stabilization and Countering Terrorism

The participants delved into the prospects and challenges concerning the economic stabilization and recovery of Afghanistan. They highlighted the need for favorable conditions that foster economic activity, ensure the resilience of the financial and banking sector, and facilitate the restoration of socioeconomic infrastructure.

Creating such an enabling environment will pave the way for further support from the international community. Additionally, the representatives urged the Taliban to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorism, including hosting, planning, training, financing, or exporting extremist activities to neighboring countries.

They recognized that the negative spill-over effects from Afghanistan, such as terrorism, violent extremism, drug trafficking, and illicit cross-border activities, pose a significant threat to the region.

Moreover, the utilization of shared natural resources must consider the needs of all neighboring nations. The participants commended the efforts made by regional countries, organizations, and international partners in preventing and addressing these challenges.

Continued Dialogue and Cooperation

Given the shared objective of achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan and the broader region, the participants stressed the indispensability of sustained dialogue and collaboration among the stakeholders in this format and the wider international community.

They unanimously agreed to convene regularly in this regional format, selecting alternating venues as an invaluable platform for consultation, coordination, and cooperation. Encouragingly, they supported the proposal to hold the next meeting in the forthcoming autumn.