With regard to the ceasefire announced by the Afghan Government and the Taliban during the festival of Eid al-Fitr, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his colleagues from Indonesia, Norway, Qatar and Uzbekistan declared today (24/05):
Our five countries warmly welcome the announcements by the Afghan government and the Taliban of a ceasefire during the festival Eid al-Fitr. We wish all Afghans a joyful and blessed Eid.
The ceasefire is a positive step forward that gives cause for hope. The Afghan people deserves an end to violence as well as a dignified peace and stability.
We encourage the parties to take further steps in the days and weeks ahead in order to enter into, without delay, intra-Afghan negotiations aimed at securing a durable peace settlement that ends the conflict in Afghanistan.
Recalling the appeal of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres for a global ceasefire amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge a permanent and comprehensive reduction in violence so as to bring lasting relief to the Afghan population. In this connection, we also encourage the taking of necessary measures to protect vulnerable groups and individuals, including prisoners, from the pandemic.
As like-minded countries resolved to co-operate in our support for an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan, we stand ready to assist the process in any way the parties may wish.
We take this opportunity to recognize and commend the long-standing efforts of all relevant parties, including those of Qatar and the United States, in supporting the peace process in Afghanistan.