The EU External Action Service (EEAS) says the Communiqué by Special Envoys and Special Representatives of the European Union, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan endorsed during the EU and Central Asia Special Envoys for Afghanistan video conference meeting on April 15, 2021, in particular, notes that the participants reaffirmed their joint commitment to forge a strong, ambitious and forward-looking partnership. 

Respectful of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, participants reportedly exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan and discussed ways to further support an inclusive and meaningful peace process for the benefit of all Afghans. 

To that end, participants: 

1. Reviewed the situation and acknowledged that only a negotiated peace agreement will end the war for the benefit of all Afghans and lay the ground for sustainable regional stability and security. In this regard, participants encouraged a genuine resumption of  the direct talks between the Government and the Taliban, and expressed their support  to all constructive formats of dialogue that aim at paving the way for peace in  Afghanistan, including the ongoing negotiations in Doha, and other high level Peace  conferences hosted in the region and reiterated their unwavering support  to the continuation of the peace process. 

2. Expressed strong concerns and condemned the current continuous high levels of violence and the increasing number of targeted attacks and killings and committed to urge all sides to agree to an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire. 

3. Stressed that any peace agreement should protect the rights of all Afghans, including  women, youth and ethnic minorities, and must respond to the strong desire of Afghans  to preserve and further promote the economic, social, political and development gains  achieved since 2001. 

4. Highlighted that the implementation of the Doha Agreement of February 29, 2020 requires the commitments to be honored by all parties.

5. Affirmed that any change in the Afghan governance structure should be determined by Afghans and respecting the democratic provisions of the Afghan constitution for the peace process to remain Afghan-owned and Afghan-led. 

6. Reiterated that a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan free of terrorism undoubtedly will contribute to the development of the entire region and beyond, and renewed their commitment to strengthen their cooperation on counter-terrorism related issues.  Participants also stressed the importance of fighting illegal drug production and trafficking and urged all sides to eliminate the drug threat in and stemming from Afghanistan. 

7. Recognized the important role to be played by regional actors through inclusive efforts with all countries and organizations active in Afghanistan, and encouraged all concerned countries to support the Afghan people and contribute to a lasting peace settlement in the interest of all.  The participants also expressed the importance of the work of the United Nations Assistance mission in Afghanistan to coordinate international efforts to promote peace and stability in the region. 

8. Reiterated the need to strengthen regional cooperation as a contribution to an inclusive and peaceful resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan and called for renewed efforts to intensify connectivity (in transport, digital, energy and people-to-people domains) between Afghanistan and its neighbors, based on the principles of sustainability and level playing field. 

9. Welcomed the efforts engaged to strengthen the process of regional economic cooperation with a view to promoting sustainable economic growth and fostering jobs creation in Afghanistan and the region including measures to facilitate regional connectivity, trade and economic development.  Welcomed the important initiatives for regional cooperation on connectivity, including Afghanistan, under the auspices of the “Connecting EU-Asia strategy” and Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Conference (CAREC).  The participants also valued the role of other  regional dialogues to promoting confidence building measures with the aim to  strengthen economic and political ties in the region with Afghanistan.