Statement of Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the meeting of the G20 Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan

22.09.2021 - Speech

Today’s meeting could not be timelier. The situation in Afghanistan is probably the most daunting challenge that the international community is currently facing.

And we are better off if we address it together.

After all, our countries share many interests and concerns over Afghanistan:

  • Never again may the country become a safe haven for terrorists.
  • We oppose extremism, organised crime, drug trafficking and illegal migration.
  • And we seek a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, which allows its people to live in dignity and which maintains friendly relations with all of its neighbours.

Our first priority should therefore be to address the looming humanitarian crisis, which is also a threat to regional stability.

Last week’s meeting on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan convened by António Guterres was a first important step.

  • Germany has already increased its humanitarian funding by 100 million euro.
  • We intend to provide another 500 million euro to help Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries in the coming months.
  • And we are working hard to assist our citizens and Afghans for whom we have special responsibility in leaving the country.

But as the G20, we should use not only our economic strength but also our political weight to influence the decisions that the new authorities in Afghanistan are taking.

The announcement of a non-inclusive government was a tactical mistake by the Taliban, as it will make it harder for us to engage with them.

It is important that they hear this from all of us.

And we should also speak with one voice when it comes to the basic political parameters and benchmarks for any future engagement with them.

Four messages are particularly important in that regard and could be part of the outcome of today’s discussion:

  • First: The Taliban must allow unhindered access for humanitarian and aid workers;
  • Second: They must grant safe passage for all Afghans who want to leave the country;
  • Third: They must ensure that Afghanistan will not become a host country for international terrorism;
  • And fourth, they must establish an inclusive government that protects human rights.

I am convinced that most of us can unite behind these priorities.

And I thank you, dear Luigi, for bringing us together here today.

Thank you!


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