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Afghan peace process: EU calls on regional countries for support

AT-KABUL: Council of the European Union (EU) on Monday urged Afghanistan’s neighbors and other regional countries to support the Afghan-led peace process.

Welcoming the recent efforts of the Afghan leadership to bring back stability and peace to the country, the council in its meeting which held in Brussels, emphasized on broader regional cooperation for result-oriented reconciliation process between Afghan government and insurgents.

“The EU calls on all countries in the region to support an inclusive settlement that eschews the violence which continues to cause suffering for so many Afghans, disavows any link with terrorism or terrorist groups and respects human rights, in particular the rights of women and children,” the council said in its report issued at the end of the meeting.

The EU council also stressed on protection of Afghan women’s rights and increased participation of women in the political processes. It also underlined the need for capacity building of the Afghan security forces in order to deal with insurgency in better manner.

“The EU remains committed to assist with the professionalisation of civilian policing, in close coordination with the Afghan authorities and international partners. This assistance builds on results from the EU police mission to Afghanistan (EUPOL), which has been extended until the end of 2016, and the activities and substantial financial support provided by the EU and Member States,” the council said.

The council also condemned militancy and insurgent attacks in Afghanistan and said that it was important for humanitarian groups and aid workers to work without having any fear or hindrance in the war-hit country.

Afghan economy also came under discussion in the EU council’s meeting. “The EU believes that increased regional economic cooperation, in particular the development of intra-regional trade and infrastructure, in addition to agreed frameworks for the more efficient exploitation of shared natural resources, will provide benefits for all countries in the region. The Council invites the European Commission to examine the possibility of making EIB financing in Afghanistan eligible under an EU guarantee, in particular with the aim of contributing to regional prosperity and connectivity, given the improved prospects for regional cooperation,” the council said, adding that ending poverty and increasing prosperity through improved economic cooperation is essential for stability.

The council also put weight behind the “Heart of Asia” process and the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA), and urged all the concerned parties to pursue tangible outcomes from the Ministerial meetings in Islamabad and Kabul this year.

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