Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (11 March) on his first visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan:
“By visiting Afghanistan and Pakistan, we want to send a clear signal – namely, that Germany stands by its responsibility as Afghanistan’s second-largest donor and troop contributing nation.
This message is particularly important and necessary at this time. Landmark presidential elections are scheduled for July, and the peace process with the Taliban has picked up momentum, also thanks to the efforts of the United States. We want the people of Afghanistan to know that we remain committed to a peaceful resolution of the conflict and to economic development in the region.
However, it is also clear to us that any peace process must truly pave the way to a safe future for everyone in Afghanistan. There can be no falling back into the painful problems of the past. The progress that the country has achieved in recent years with regard to human rights and the rule of law, and regarding improved living conditions for many, especially young women, must be preserved. We will champion these efforts – also as a foundation for our future cooperation.
When it comes to stability in Afghanistan, Pakistan plays a key role. That is why I will also be stopping in Islamabad on this trip, where during my talks I will make the case for even closer cooperation between these two neighbours. At the same time, I will use this opportunity to express our concern about the recent tensions with India. Pakistan and India must keep their communication channels open and work to de‑escalate the situation. Greater stability in the region could also boost our economic ties. As the world’s sixth most populous country, Pakistan has significant potential.”