Nicolas Maeterlinck

220 people with links to Belgium still awaiting evacuation from Afghanistan

The Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès (Francophone liberal, photo) said that the top priority at Thursday’s informal summit of EU Foreign Ministers in the Slovene city of Kranj was the evacuation of EU citizens and those with ties to EU countries from Afghanistan. 

Ms Wilmès told journalists that “Taking a firm position is needed to ensure that that these people are able to leave the country safely”. The Belgian Foreign Minister added that there are currently still 220 people with ties to Belgium that are still in Afghanistan.

She stressed that it is important that the EU talks to the UK that is in a similar position to many EU member states. Talks with the Taliban will also be necessary in order to ensure safe passage for those entitled to leave. However, any talks with the radical Islamist group that now controls Afghanistan must take place “while protecting our values and interests”.

Ms Wilmès believes that Europe should play a role in the current political  negotiations and let its voice be heard more loudly with regard to the formation of a new government in Kabul.

"Because if we want relations with the future Afghan government to be dependent on conditions (such as respect for human rights and in particular women’s rights and the rights of minorities,) we will not be able to satisfy ourselves with just taking note of the result of the talks that are currently taking place in Doha”, Ms Wilmès told journalists. 

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