The EU will only cooperate with the Taliban if they respect fundamental rights, including those of women, and prevent the use of Afghanistan’s territory by terrorists, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said on Tuesday.
Josep Borrell outlined the EU’s stance in a statement after an emergency meeting of European Union foreign ministers to discuss the Taliban’s quick seizure of the Afghan capital Kabul.
“I haven’t said that we are going to recognise the Taliban,” Borrell told a news conference. “I just said that we have to talk with them for everything, even to try to protect women and girls. Even for that, you have to get in touch with them.”
The Taliban, in their first official news briefing since the seizure of Kabul, said they wanted peaceful relations with other countries and would respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law.
Their announcement, short on details but suggesting a softer line than during their rule 20 years ago, was made as the United States and Western allies evacuated diplomats and civilians the day after scenes of chaos at Kabul airport as Afghans thronged the airfield.
Borrell said the EU’s priority was to evacuate EU staff and Afghan helpers from Kabul. He put the number of locals who have been working for the EU at almost 400, their families included.
Spain has offered to act as a hub to receive these people before they are sent on to EU countries that have offered them shelter, he said.
Humanitarian aid for Afghans must be maintained and even increased, but assistance will only go to the Afghan government if conditions are met, Borrell said.
Starting a dialogue soon is needed to avert a potential migratory disaster and a humanitarian crisis, he added.
“We have to get in touch with authorities in Kabul … the Taliban have won the war, so we will have to talk to them.”
Borrell ranked the fall of Kabul to the Taliban as the most important geopolitical event since the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014.
“It will have an impact on the geopolitical balance of the world,” he said, meaning the EU would have to work more closely with countries such as Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and China.
China and EU Seek Partnership: Xi Jinping Proposes Key Trade Alliance
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his desire for China and the European Union (EU) to become key trade partners and foster trust in supply chains, during a meeting with EU leaders in Beijing.
The talks marked the first in-person summit between the two sides in four years and addressed a range of economic concerns, including data flows and market access.
Xi emphasized China’s commitment to high-quality development and opening up, positioning the EU as a crucial partner in economic and trade cooperation.
He envisioned the EU as a trusted collaborator in industrial and supply chain cooperation, aiming for mutual benefits and win-win results.
The summit delved into longstanding issues, such as efforts by Europe to “de-risk” its supply chains and the EU’s anti-subsidies investigation into Chinese-made electric vehicles.
China criticized the investigation, urging the EU to avoid using it for “trade protectionism.”
Xi called for the elimination of interference between China and the EU, a statement likely directed at the United States, which has taken actions, including enlisting the Netherlands, to curb China’s development of high-end semiconductors.
The EU leaders, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, described their conversation with Xi as “good and candid.”
They discussed the main challenges amid increasing geopolitical frictions, emphasizing a commitment to balanced trade relations and pledging to enhance people-to-people exchanges.
During the meeting, Italy formally informed China of its exit from the Belt and Road Initiative, highlighting ongoing strains between the EU and China.
Xi discussed Belt and Road with EU leaders, expressing a willingness to connect it with the EU’s Global Gateway infrastructure plan.
However, deep issues remain, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, trade imbalances, and Chinese overcapacity exported to Europe.
Jens Eskelund, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, stressed the need to address these issues to foster a positive relationship between Beijing and Brussels.
UAE Commits $30 Billion as COP28 Climate Talks Kick Off in Dubai
Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
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