Foreign Minister Maas on the ceasefire in Afghanistan
Foreign Minister Maas issued the following statement today (17 June) on the ceasefire in Afghanistan:
Spectacular images are reaching us from Afghanistan over the Eid ul-Fitr holiday: Taliban and government soldiers praying together, hugging each other as the people applaud. A country marred by decades of violence embracing hope that peace is possible.
It is not just that the first ceasefire since the start of the Afghanistan conflict is thus far being respected by both sides. It was extended indefinitely yesterday evening by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. This further courageous step, after the historic offer of peace talks, deserves the respect and support of the entire international community.
The people in Afghanistan want peace. I call upon both sides to adhere to and continue the ceasefire and above all to enter now into direct peace talks. All the issues to be discussed are on the table: also the future civilian and military role to be played by Afghanistan’s international partners. The international community is in agreement in this regard.
Yet peace does not happen overnight. It requires patience and circumspection. I condemn the heinous attack in Nangarhar province for which IS claimed responsibility yesterday. This inhuman international terrorism needs to be combated.
Germany will do all it can to support the Afghan peace process, which needs to include men and women from all ethnic and religious groups, and continues to stand firm at the side of the Afghan People.