In the „NATO Social Update Briefing” of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association of Hungary, we bring you the contemporary news of the Alliance every month.
Statement by NATO Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan (Issued in Brussels, 20 August 2021)
1. We, the Foreign Ministers of NATO, met today to discuss the difficult situation in Afghanistan.
2. We are united in our deep concern about the grave events in Afghanistan and call for an immediate end to the violence. We also express deep concerns about reports of serious human rights violations and abuses across Afghanistan. We affirm our commitment to the statement by the UN Security Council on 16 August, and we call for adherence to international norms and standards on human rights and international humanitarian law in all circumstances.
3. Our immediate task now is to meet our commitments to continue the safe evacuation of our citizens, partner country nationals, and at-risk Afghans, in particular those who have assisted our efforts. We call on those in positions of authority in Afghanistan to respect and facilitate their safe and orderly departure, including through Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. As long as evacuation operations continue, we will maintain our close operational coordination through Allied military means at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
4. The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity, and to build on the important political, economic and social achievements they have made over the last twenty years. We stand by civil society actors who must be able to continue to safely play their meaningful role in Afghan society. We call on all parties in Afghanistan to work in good faith to establish an inclusive and representative government, including with the meaningful participation of women and minority groups. Under the current circumstances, NATO has suspended all support to the Afghan authorities. Any future Afghan government must adhere to Afghanistan’s international obligations; safeguard the human rights of all Afghans, particularly women, children, and minorities; uphold the rule of law; allow unhindered humanitarian access; and ensure that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists.
5. For the last twenty years, we have successfully denied terrorists a safe haven in Afghanistan from which to instigate attacks. We will not allow any terrorists to threaten us. We remain committed to fighting terrorism with determination, resolve, and in solidarity.
6. We honour the service and sacrifice of all who have worked tirelessly over the last twenty years to realise a better future for Afghanistan. Together, we will fully reflect on our engagement in Afghanistan and draw the necessary lessons. We will continue to promote the stable, prosperous Afghanistan that the Afghan people deserve and address the critical questions facing Afghanistan and the region, in the immediate future and beyond, including through our cooperation with regional and international partners, such as the European Union and United Nations.
Today (12 July 2021), NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry at NATO Headquarters. They discussed a range of issues related to the NATO-Egypt partnership, a relationship of more than 25 years through NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue.
The Secretary General said that Egypt remains an important NATO partner with a pivotal role in the region. Mr. Stoltenberg welcomed the renewal of the Individual Partnership Cooperation Programme, the main instrument of focused cooperation with Mediterranean Dialogue partner countries.
The Secretary General and Minister Sameh Shoukry exchanged on the regional developments affecting Egypt security and interests. They also shared views on the prospects for potential cooperation between NATO and Egypt in other areas of shared interest.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the Deputy Chairperson of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Bisera Turković, and the Minister of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Sifet Podžić, to NATO headquarters on Wednesday (14 July 2021), to discuss how to further enhance NATO’s relationship with Bosnia and Herzegovina and the wider region.
Following their bilateral meeting, the Ministers will participate in a meeting of the North Atlantic Council chaired by the Secretary General, where the Reform Programme and future political dialogue will be discussed with Allies. Mr Stoltenberg said that Allies are interested in learning about the Reform Programme’s implementation, and that he looks forward to a constructive and informative debate. He also said that NATO continues to stand ready to support Bosnia and Herzegovina’s reform efforts.
In their meeting, the Secretary General thanked Bosnia and Herzegovina for their contribution to the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. He also said that he was pleased that the region’s COVID-19 situation has improved, and was glad that NATO was able to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in combatting the pandemic, through the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre.
Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană welcomed Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories Oleksii Reznikov to NATO Headquarters on Wednesday ,7 July 2021. They discussed the security environment in and around Ukraine, and NATO’s political and practical support for Kyiv.
At a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, Allies expressed support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and underlined the importance of Ukraine’s reform programme, which will help bring the country closer to NATO. Allies further commended Deputy Prime Minister Reznikov for Ukraine’s close partnership with the Alliance.
The Deputy Secretary General highlighted that at the NATO Summit in June, leaders were united in support for Ukraine’s right to decide its own future, free from outside interference. The Summit Communiqué reiterated the decision of the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Ukraine will become a member of the Alliance.
Jens Stoltenberg met at NATO Headquarters with H.E. Yair Lapid, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Alternate Prime Minister of Israel to discuss a range of issues related to NATO-Israel relations.
The Secretary General said that Israel is one of NATO’s most engaged and capable partners, and he pointed out that exchanges at the staff-to-staff and expert-level have continued, despite the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Israel has been an important partner to NATO for more than 20 years, as well as an active member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue. NATO and Israel cooperate in different domains, including science and technology, civil emergencies preparedness and management, resilience, counter-terrorism, military medicine, countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and women, peace and security.
Stoltenberg and Minister Lapid also shared views on the prospects for potential cooperation between NATO and Israel in other areas of shared interest, including climate change, defence innovation, and emerging and disruptive technologies. Furthermore, the NATO Secretary General restressed Allies’ continued calls on Iran to uphold and fully implement all its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and its safeguard agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and refrain from all activities which are inconsistent with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.