On 24 November 2020, the 2020 Afghanistan Conference, co-hosted by the United Nations, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and the Government of Finland took place online in Geneva, Switzerland. With participation of representatives of the international community, the event addressed the prospects for socio-political and economic development of Afghanistan over the next five years.
At the conference, a video statement was also delivered by the Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs. The Minister underlined that the main aim above all other commitments concerning Afghanistan is the restoration of peace and stabilisation of the situation. A positive signal of such an opportunity can be seen in the negotiations on restoring peace and political stability launched between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban political movement on 12 September 2020 following the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan signed between the United States of America and the Taliban on 29 February 2020.
From Latvia’s perspective, the peace process should underpin the progress achieved since 2001 in the area of strengthening democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Afghanistan.
Edgars Rinkēvičs recalled that the European Union in May of this year reaffirmed the EU’s political commitment to support the people of Afghanistan. At the same time, the principle of mutual accountability between the Government of Afghanistan and its partners remains an essential ingredient for effective support. Conditionality is a factor that cannot be underestimated for sustainable contributions from international donors, the Minister underlined.
The Minister confirmed that not only is Latvia actively expressing its political support for Afghanistan in the international arena, for instance, in the EU and UN formats, but it is also providing considerable material and practical contributions. Latvian troops are participating in the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan deployed by NATO and the Allied forces and Latvia has committed to extend the annual financial contribution of USD 500,000 in support of training and equipment for the Afghan National Army.
Edgars Rinkēvičs underlined that EU assistance to Afghanistan should be seen as part of broader regional efforts. Ever since 2015, the Border Guard of Latvia has been chairing the EU Border Management Programme in Central Asia, BOMCA. We are happy that this year, with a new phase, Afghanistan has also joined the programme, the Minister pointed out.
The 2020 Afghanistan Conference brought together representatives from over 70 countries as well as international organisations and agencies. Pledging conferences in a similar format were held in Tokyo in 2012 and Brussels in 2016.
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