European Union foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell held talks with Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin on Monday on ways to maintain security at the Tajik-Afghan borders. Speaking at the 17th EU-Central Asia ministerial meeting, top diplomats spoke of Tajikistan’s concern over the threat of extremism and organized crime fueled by drug and arms trafficking along borders Afghan-Tajikistani, Sputnik reported. Stressing the importance of the EU’s commitment to help strengthen Tajikistan’s borders, Borell said Afghan territory must be prevented from being used as a base to harbor, finance or export terrorism to other countries.
“During the talks, great attention was paid to questions of security and stability of Tajikistan’s borders and to the situation in Afghanistan,” the Tajik ministry said in a statement, quoted by Sputnik.
A joint statement released by the European External Action Service (EEAS) said diplomats also stressed the importance of expanding cooperation in providing humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. “The participants recognized the need to strengthen cooperation to prevent dangerous and irregular movements of people and to combat smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings,” the statement added. Recognizing the need for enhanced cooperation, diplomats called for the promotion and respect of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghans, especially women and girls, children and minorities.
Resilience, prosperity and support for regional cooperation – these are the priorities set out in the EU-Central Asia strategy, which today remain more relevant than ever to guide our regional commitment to post-pandemic recovery.
It’s good to discuss their implementation together today pic.twitter.com/cVtSFsw1oy
– Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) 22 November 2021
Participating diplomats also agreed that a comprehensive and inclusive government is necessary to establish lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. In addition, they also called for an urgent ceasefire in Panjshir province to guarantee humanitarian access to the people of the valley.
Diplomats look forward to stepping up EU-Central Asia security cooperation
Diplomats attending the EU-Central Asia meeting welcomed the intensification of cooperation on security and border management. They also agreed to step up the fight against terrorism, transnational organized crime, trafficking in human beings, smuggling of migrants, smuggling of small arms and light weapons and cyber threats. Stressing the key role of science and technology in accelerating economic diversification, diplomats also welcomed cooperation in the fields of education, vocational training, training and skills development. The EU and Central Asian participants further recognized the value of international research and cooperation between two regions, with a proposal for the EU to launch a new Central Asian Regional Science Program, technology and innovation.