The head of the European bloc, Ursula von der Leyen, announced at the virtual G20 summit a package of aid of 1 billion euros to Afghanistan. Italy, which holds the rotating presidency of the group, was the host of the special meeting, dedicated to the debate on the humanitarian and security situation in the Asian country.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, assured that “to avoid a total humanitarian and socioeconomic collapse” in Afghanistan, with the arrival of winter, the European Union (EU) decided to deliver an aid package of 1,000 million euros (1,150 million dollars) to the Asian country.
According to a statement issued this Tuesday, October 12, the financial plan adds 250 million euros to a sum of 300 million that the EU had previously announced to alleviate the “urgent humanitarian needs” in the nation, while the rest of the contribution will be allocated to the neighboring nations of Afghanistan that are hosting thousands of refugees fleeing the Taliban regime.
Europe is taking the leadership of the global solidarity effort.
The Afghan Support Package worth almost € 1 billion is an investment in security and stability.
I hope 🇪🇺 Member States will top it up with contributions. pic.twitter.com/GCfON0a4yr
– Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) October 12, 2021
Von der Leyen’s statement stressed that EU funds will be “direct support” to Afghans and will be channeled to international organizations operating on the ground and not to the de facto government, which Brussels still does not recognize.
EU development cooperation, which differs from humanitarian aid, for its part remains suspended.
“We have been clear about our conditions for any engagement with the Afghan authorities, including respect for human rights. So far, the reports speak for themselves,” said Von der Leyen, adding that “the Afghan people should not pay the Taliban share price. “
A “moral debt” towards the people of Afghanistan and the weight of fear of a new migration crisis
Von der Leyen said that EU countries, especially those involved in the NATO mission, which withdrew hastily in August when the Taliban took control of the country, have a “moral duty” to help Afghans. .
In neighboring countries, aid will be directed at managing migration and fostering cooperation in the fight against “terrorism” and “migrant smuggling”.
Since the Taliban returned to power, the country already suffering from drought and endemic poverty after decades of war has seen its economy plummet, raising fears of an exodus of refugees.
EU countries want to prevent a flood of asylum seekers trying to enter Europe, like what happened in 2015 with refugees fleeing the war in Syria.
In a message to the summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated that the international community must keep open channels of dialogue with the Taliban to “lead them patiently and gradually” towards the establishment of a more inclusive Administration.
He repeated that Turkey, which is already hosting more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees, cannot shoulder another influx of Afghan migrants, warning that European nations would also be affected by a new flow of migrants.
“It is inevitable that European countries will also be affected by the migratory pressure that Turkey will be exposed to on its southern and eastern borders,” he said.
Lack of consensus to face the Afghan crisis
This new package, which the EU recognizes insufficient to deal with the Afghan situation, comes at a time when the United Nations is urging world powers to inject cash into the country.
Afghanistan, which before the Taliban took power relied on international aid – which represented three-quarters of state spending – faces a liquidity shortage as assets remain frozen in the United States and other countries and that subsidies from international organizations are still on hold.
In Tuesday’s conference, US President Joe Biden is expected to participate. For his part, Chinese President Xi Jinping did not attend and it is unclear whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in the meeting, underscoring different international positions on the emergency.
“The main problem is that Western countries want to target the way the Taliban run the country and how they treat women for example, while China and Russia instead have a foreign policy of non-interference,” he told Reuters a diplomatic source close to the matter.
The summit comes as the Taliban hold their first talks with a joint US-EU delegation in Qatar. The new rulers of Afghanistan continue their diplomatic campaign in search of international recognition and support.
With Reuters and AP