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Today is the first day of the Nowruz celebrations – New Year in Afghanistan and elsewhere. It should be a day of joy, celebrating with friends and family the arrival of spring. A terrorist attack in Kabul this morning has shattered this moment of celebration for many, claiming the lives of at least 29 people and leaving many others wounded. The European Union expresses its condolences to the families and friends of the victims and wishes a swift recovery to those who were injured.
As the European Union, we will keep working with the Afghan authorities towards reaching peace. The offer of peace made by the Afghan Government at the recent Kabul Process meeting, with the unanimous support of the international community present, should be seized by all so that violence and terror can stop once and for all, allowing for a truly Afghan-led and Afghan-owned inclusive dialogue.
We will once again reiterate this message at next week's Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan, at which the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini will represent the European Union. Now is the moment to start a real dialogue for peace, and the European Union will, in full solidarity with the Afghan government and the Afghan people, support this process. The Afghan people deserve and need a better present and future.