European Union External Action

Remarks by HR/VP Federica Mogherini at the joint press conference at the end of the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, with President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani

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Thank you. You already gave the news: a successful conference; an excellent day. I was sharing with President [Ashraf] Ghani now that most of the Ministers and the Heads of the delegations present here today, at the end of the day were telling me that this is the success story, this is the good part of our work, when we see things working. And you do not necessarily associate that with Afghanistan in the recent years. So, indeed we have had an excellent day. 75 partner countries from around the world; 25 international organisations and agencies, includingthe Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, US Secretary [of State, John] Kerry and many foreign ministers, both from EU countries and from very far away. And obviously a very strong leadership and presence of our Afghan friends.

I would like to personally thank, and it is not a formal thank you, President Ghani, Chief Executive Abdhullah, all the team of the national unity government, the Ministers who co-hosted with us and co-organised with us, and co-prepared with us this conference. So if this conference has been a success today and yesterday it is thanks to excellent team work, that in itself has proven to be a very positive result of this conference. And that will continue from tomorrow onwards.

Let me say immediately that the conference expressed impressive international commitment to support Afghanistan. Some were sceptical, some were saying that we were going to face a donors fatigue, an Afghanistan fatigue, and that after 15 years the international community is tired. I have to tell you in the last two years, after the London Conference, many were even saying "why are you organising this conference in Brussels? It is going to be difficult to mobilise the international community again". And here we are, today, being able to announce that the international community, all the countries and international organisations present here today committed, pledged for the period 2017 - 2020 a total amount of USD 15.2 billion, which is an amount of money that is exceeding our most rosy pictures even of yesterday. That - I say this for the Brussels based colleagues - means €13.6 billion euros. Out of this amount of money, I am proud to announce that the European Union, together with its Member States, is the first donor of all with €5 billion which makes USD 5.6 billion.

So you have reasons to go back home with good news to tell. We have reasons to share with all our friends in the world and in Afghanistan and in the region the good news that is that the international community is firmly and in a very consistent way, in a very determined way, at the side of the Afghan people. Starting with Afghan women, and the Afghan youth - because we know very well that investing in Afghanistan, in the Afghan people and in the strength and the wisdom of the Afghan people, is the way of investing in international stability and in our own present and future.

So support continues at extraordinary levels. I have talked about the new international and regional deal on Afghanistan. We also count on a new internal deal in Afghanistan, and here I would like to recognise the leadership of President Ghani, Chief Executive Abduallah and the entire National Unity Government that I have no doubt will manage to build on this extraordinary support of the international community to give Afghanistan the institutional stability and strength - based on democracy and the constitution - that the country deserves. Many around the table today mentioned this very clearly: the international community sees no alternatives to a strong, united, determined, cohesive and inclusive National Unity Government that manages to bring forward the reforms that it has envisaged for the country and that with this international support it can really realise.

I might mention many different issues we discussed today. I will leave it either for questions or for the wise words that President Ghani will mention. I will just point that among the key elements that will be there for our work tomorrow onwards in Kabul, in Brussels, everywhere in the world. We know very well that security is a key factor. We know also that security is also not only a matter of security forces; it is also a matter of security forces. We as European Union are and we will continue to be on the side of the Afghan security forces, especially with our training mission. But is also a matter of politics. Security also depends on strong democratic institutions, inclusive processes and meaningful peace processes. Security only exists in Afghanistan if it is for all the other countries in the region and only if all other countries in the region create the conditions for it.

So let me share with you something that I hinted at this morning. In these days - yesterday evening having organised a meeting together with President Ghani, with Chief Executive Abdullah, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Salahuddin Rabbani, with some key players of the international arena, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary Kerry and some key regional actors, such as India, Pakistan, and China and today during our work - I have seen clearly that there is space for a common basis for regional political support to the political peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. Regional support for Afghan-led and Afghan-own peace process that will be inclusive based on democracy and in respect of Afghanistan’s constitution, as well as a common understanding that negotiations with the Taliban will be needed on the basis of these principals. The European Union together with our Afghan friends will build on this new window of hope, I could say,also on the political side on this emerging regional consensus that we clearly saw last night in this meeting that I organised and today during the day.

So, let me say that it has been an extremely successful financial support exercise, an extremely successful pledging conference, but it has also been a very successful political conference I believe, to inject new energy in what we need for the future of Afghanistan - that is support for the the working you are doing, Mr President Ghani together with all your team, together with Chief Executive Abdullah - and again making sure that this stays a priority, not only for you, not only for the region - with the consistency that we expect from the region - but also for the entire international community.