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Foreign Minister Maas meets US Secretary of State Blinken in Ramstein United States of America

The central topic of the talks between Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his US counterpart Antony Blinken was concern for the future of the people of Afghanistan following the seizure of power by the Taliban.

The central topic of the talks between Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his US counterpart Antony Blinken was concern for the future of the people of Afghanistan following the seizure of power by the Taliban., © Thomas Koehler/photothek.net

09.09.2021 - Article

The central topic of the talks between Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his US counterpart Antony Blinken in Ramstein, Rhineland‑Palatinate, on 8 September was concern for the future of the people of Afghanistan following the seizure of power by the Taliban.

In a virtual meeting the two foreign ministers, together with representatives of another 22 states and international organisations, agreed on cooperation and coordination within the international community with the goal of resolving open questions as soon as possible.

A humanitarian crisis is looming in Afghanistan on three fronts. Food is already scarce in many parts of the country because of drought. At the same time, the international aid payments on which many people in the country urgently depend have been stopped. If the new powerholders in Afghanistan are not in a position to uphold and continue to conduct the affairs of state, there is a danger that the political collapse will be followed by an economic collapse – with even more drastic consequences. Foreign Minister Maas said that above all rapid assistance measures via the United Nations were needed to prevent a humanitarian crisis.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his US counterpart Antony Blinken
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his US counterpart Antony Blinken© Thomas Koehler/photothek.net

In the final press conference, Foreign Minister Maas and Secretary of State Blinken also commented on the issue of cooperation with the Taliban over and above humanitarian assistance. Maas said that Germany had clear expectations of the Taliban, including the safe departure of German nationals, local employees and particularly vulnerable people and the protection of human and women’s rights at all costs. He added that the Taliban must also prevent Afghanistan from reverting to an export haven for terrorism.

Maas admitted that the government the Taliban had now presented did not inspire him with optimism, as it had been formed without involving other groups. He said the Taliban must realise that international isolation was not in their interests.

Foreign Minister Maas thanked his US colleague for their cooperation, also with regard to the evacuation of people in need of protection.

We have had more intensive discussions on Afghanistan recently with the United States than with any other partner.

The two countries want to take a joint and coordinated approach in the next phase, too.

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