Sunday, October 17, 2021

Taliban government’s behavior ‘not encouraging’, says EU foreign policy chief

RIYADH — The head of the European Union’s foreign policy said on Sunday that the Taliban government’s behavior so far was “not very encouraging”, and that any economic collapse in Afghanistan would increase the risk of terrorism and other threats.

Josep Borrell also said at a joint news conference with his Saudi Arabian counterpart that he expected nuclear talks between global powers and Iran to resume “soon” in Vienna.

An EU diplomat in Riyadh after his visit to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates said he briefed his allies on the prospects of resuming nuclear talks and exchanged views with Saudi officials on Yemen and Afghanistan. did.

The European Union has increased its humanitarian aid to Afghanistan since the Taliban came to power, but halted development aid – a move also taken by other countries and the World Bank.

Josep Borrell and Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saudi
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud hold a joint news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 3, 2021. (Ahmed Yosri/Reuters)

“Of course it’s a dilemma. Because if you want to contribute to avoid the collapse of an economy, in a certain way, you can consider supporting the government … depending on their behavior. And his behavior so far is not very encouraging,” Borrell said.

“If the economy collapses, the human condition will be very bad. The tension for people to leave the country will be greater, the threat of a terrorist threat will be greater and therefore the risks affecting the international community from Afghanistan will be greater,” he said.

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Turning to the region, he said the EU was ready to pursue trade deals with Gulf countries, adding that the bloc supported Saudi Arabia’s modernization drive.

He said Brussels was also working on human rights and hoped the talks would yield “real results”.

The crackdown has come as well on Saudi Arabia’s social and economic reform campaign, which sparked intense international scrutiny following the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.

Riyadh has also faced criticism over Yemen, where it leads a military coalition that has been battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement for more than six years.

Describing Yemen as a “terrible tragedy”, Borrell expressed support for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, which is largely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the region.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud said Riyadh has “very strong” talks with the United States to end the war.

by Raya Jalabik

Reuters

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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