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Controversy continues over how to proceed on «kleinezeitung.at

Controversy continues over how to proceed on «kleinezeitung.at

EU countries agree on core issues, but disagreement over refugees continues. Central Asia is moving towards greater focus.

from Andreas Lieb | 9:12 PM, Sep 2, 2021

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Alexander Schallenberg: Enhancing confidence in the Taliban © AFP

In the regular “Jimnic”, an informal council of the European Union in private, the defense ministers met first, and the foreign ministers met in Slovenia since Thursday evening – the main topic being Afghanistan. The direction of the move is clear on the main points: the EU wants to work more closely with Central Asian countries, including India, China and Russia. The events are also used as an opportunity to redesign the theme of a common European defense policy – not against NATO, but within the alliance, in order to “get on an equal footing,” as MEP David McAllister put it. The European Union’s external representative, Josep Borrell, recently spoke of a rapid reaction force of 5,000 men, according to the Presidency of the Slovenian Council, which could reach 20,000 soldiers. It is also indisputable that the country is in dire need of humanitarian aid, because this country should contact the new rulers at least “on a technical level”, as Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said.

After that, opinions differ. Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, continued his course and again called for entry to those who wish to leave the country in an orderly manner: “We cannot say Pakistan, leave your borders open, but do nothing ourselves.” , who asked a “magistrate of Austria” to receive a family, which he immediately promised. On the other hand, Schallenberg stuck to the negative attitude regarding refugee admissions.

The EU must not turn away now, but must remain committed in Afghanistan and in the region, which can be “dragged into a downward spiral”. There is a leap of faith towards the Taliban. “You won’t get a blank check,” Schallenberg said. As a prerequisite for later recognition of the Taliban, the demand that Afghanistan never again become an “incubator of international terrorism” was called. “The country should not become a black hole in security policy.”

Requirements must be met

There are a number of “very clear expectations,” Schallenberg said. Among other things, this applies to humanitarian access, freedom of movement – not only for foreign nationals, but also for Afghans – respect for basic and civil rights and also the Doha process, he said.

One should certainly learn lessons, Schallenberg said, but there should be no hasty action. You should calmly analyze what went wrong: “The moral gunboat policy must be observed.” His German counterpart Heiko Maas sees it differently: We must act quickly now and determine our position on Afghanistan quickly.” The basic condition is that the basic rights of human beings and women are preserved in the country and that the country does not become a new haven for terrorism. A humanitarian catastrophe threatens: “Most people will stay in Afghanistan. We will also be ready to provide development assistance again. “People there must be helped now, so it is also necessary to talk to the Taliban. If the conditions are met and security conditions are guaranteed, Germany will be ready for Kabul to return diplomatically to represent them.

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