Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney T.D. participated in an emergency meeting of EU Foreign Ministers today to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
The Foreign Affairs Council issued a Declaration after the meeting, reiterating the EU’s commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights in Afghanistan, in particular those of women and girls, and of minorities and emphasising that Afghanistan must honours its international obligations, including under the UN Charter. They also discussed the coordination of evacuation efforts, to ensure that EU citizens seeking to leave Afghanistan are facilitated to do so as soon as possible.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister Coveney commented:
“I welcome the EU Declaration which we were able to agree at today’s meeting. In the discussion with my European colleagues I expressed Ireland’s grave concern at the situation for women and girls in Afghanistan, as we also made clear at the UN Security Council yesterday. The EU has been clear on the conditionality we will attach to support to any future Afghan government, particularly the need for a peaceful and inclusive settlement and respect for fundamental rights of all Afghans.
“EU Member States are coordinating intensively on the evacuation of EU citizens, as well as on Afghan staff working with EU Embassies and organisations. Good progress was made in today’s discussion, although the situation on the ground in Kabul remains fluid, including in relation to access to the airport.”
Minister Coveney noted that work is ongoing between DFA, DECDIY and the Department of Justice to finalise processing of places for up to 150 Afghan nationals and their families under the Refugee Protection Programme. He highlighted that Ireland will organise a meeting this week of the UN Security Council informal expert group on Women, Peace and Security, specifically focused on Afghanistan.
17 August 2021