Statement of the NATO PA President on Progress towards Peace in Afghanistan

29 February 2020

Brussels 29 February 2020 - The President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Mr Attila Mesterhazy (Hungary) issued the following statement on 29 February 2020:
“I welcome today’s Joint Declaration between the United States and Afghanistan as well as the agreement between the United States and the Taliban. These are important next steps towards enduring and comprehensive peace in Afghanistan. All sides must seize this great opportunity.
The Assembly fully supports inclusive intra-Afghan peace negotiations, as laid out in last year’s Resolution 456. These negotiations must begin without delay and be conducted in an inclusive manner – by Afghans for Afghans. The political, economic, and civil society achievements reached in Afghanistan since 2001 must be protected. Importantly, Afghan women must have seats at the table, and a final settlement must preserve the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls. I hope that through these negotiations Afghans can heal the wounds of war and make genuine reconciliation possible. Any peace agreement must also ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a haven for international terrorism.
The agreements signed today open the way for Allies and partners in the Resolute Support Mission to adjust their presence and reduce it if and when conditions on the ground allow. But they mark the beginning of a process. It is important that we continue to assist the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces in building a capable, self-sustaining, and professional military force. Our countries should also help sustain a peace agreement by providing long-term financial and technical assistance to address major post-conflict challenges, such as the reintegration of fighters into society, the promotion of economic growth, and the development of the Afghan National Police.
I pay tribute to all the sacrifices Afghans have made since 2001, and I want to honour the men and women from Allied and partner countries as well as those in the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces who gave their lives to lastingly root out terrorism and bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.
I am looking forward to discussing progress on these matters with our long-standing partners in the parliament of Afghanistan when we next meet at our Spring Session.”