EU signals long-term commitment to Afghanistan
Led by Afghanistan, the Afghan foreign ministry had previously announced that national reconciliation, good governance, preparation and signing of agreements with foreign countries were part of the agenda for the Bonn conference, scheduled to take place in Germany on December 5.
The Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) fully subscribes to the aims of the Conference, and in particular that of mobilizing the international community to stay engaged in Afghanistan in the long term. Therefore, the EU reiterates its firm commitment to remain engaged, as a strong and reliable partner to the Afghan Government and people, also after the security switch has been completed.
The 27 Foreign Ministers have adopted a decision to negotiate a Cooperation and Partnership Development Agreement with Afghanistan, in the fields of development, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, combating international crime, migration, trade, the environment, including climate change, and economic and cultural cooperation as well as some other issues.
For the first time the Agreement will create a coherent, legally binding overall framework for the EU’s relations with Afghanistan, setting out common values as well as mutual rights and obligations, so constituting a long-term commitment to cooperation with Afghanistan up to and beyond 2014.
The FAC further agreed to an extension in principle of the mandate of European Police (EUPOL) - Afghanistan until the end of 2014. The Foreign Ministers also expressed the EU's commitment beyond 2014 to support Afghan efforts in strengthening policing and the rule of law.
Lastly, the EU will seek to maintain funding for its cooperation and assistance programmes to Afghanistan and the region, bilaterally as well as through the EU's budget, at least at current levels in the years to come.
In turn, the EU urges the Afghan Government to make rapid progress towards meeting its Kabul Commitments, in particular on governance, human rights, the rule of law and financial management.
Commenting on the FAC conclusions, Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas, EU Special Representative and head of Delegation to Afghanistan stated, "This decision taken by the Foreign Ministers, a message of reassurance and commitment to both the Afghan people and the region, clearly demonstrates that the Union alongside the international community will retain its political and developmental presence beyond 2014".
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