If Belgium still wants to safely evacuate fellow countrymen who stayed behind in Afghanistan, consultation with the Taliban is unavoidable, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Sophie Wilmès.
While at a six-monthly informal Foreign Affairs Council in Brdo in Slovenia, Wilmès announced that her priority is still to get Belgians and people with a link to Belgium out of Afghanistan quickly and safely.
“Belgium therefore strongly insisted on European coordination to complete the evacuation. That has also been agreed to,” she said in a press release.
At the #Gymnich, Belgium strongly insisted on EU-coordination to complete the evacuation out of #Afghanistan, which was agreed to. We set benchmarks to determine our relations with the future government & agreed on the need for strong cooperation with the countries in the region. pic.twitter.com/rcy0t4mzwi
— Sophie Wilmès (@Sophie_Wilmes) September 3, 2021
“We will also have to cooperate with international partners,” Wilmès added. “The UK seems to be an appropriate partner in this respect, as it is in roughly the same situation as the EU.”
To ensure such safe passage, operational consultation with the Taliban is unavoidable for Belgium, according to her.
“In doing so, we must at all times defend our interests and values, such as respect for human rights – especially of women and girls – and minority rights,” Wilmès said, stressing that “consultation should also not be confused with the formal recognition of a new regime.”