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Foreign Minister Maas prior to his meeting with US Secretary of State Blinken in Ramstein

08.09.2021 - Press release

Foreign Minister Maas issued the following statement today (8 September) prior to his meeting with US Secretary of State Blinken in Ramstein

We have had more intensive discussions on Afghanistan recently with the United States than with any other partner. I am thankful for the way our two countries supported each other so intensely in evacuating our nationals and local employees. We want to take a joint and coordinated approach in the next phase, too, particularly with regard to how we handle the new powerholders in Kabul.

A humanitarian crisis is looming in Afghanistan on three fronts. Food is already scarce in many parts of the country because of the drought. At the same time, the international aid payments on which many people depend have been stopped. And if a new government is not in a position to keep affairs of state running, there is a danger that the political collapse will be followed by economic collapse – with even more drastic repercussions for the humanitarian situation. That was also a fundamental concern of the neighbouring states I visited last week.

That is one reason why Tony Blinken and I issued the invitation to the virtual Foreign Ministers meeting today. More than 20 states took up this invitation to an initial exchange of views. We want to clarify what a joint approach to dealing with the Taliban that also serves our interests might look like: respect for fundamental human rights, continued possibilities of safe passage, preservation of humanitarian access, and the fight against terrorist groups like al Qaida and IS.

The people in Afghanistan are not to blame for the Taliban seizing power – and they do not deserve to be abandoned now by the international community. We are prepared to provide humanitarian assistance via the United Nations, and we will continue to talk to the Taliban, not least in order to ensure that people for whom we are responsible can leave the country.

Any further-reaching engagement, however, will depend on the Taliban’s actions. The announcement of an interim government that does not include any other groups, and yesterday’s violence against protesters and journalists in Kabul, are not signals to make us optimistic.

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