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EU’s Von der Leyen: talks with Taliban not recognition of government

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed talks are ongoing with the Taliban, during a visit to a reception centre for Afghan EU workers in Spain.

Madrid, 21 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) – EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed talks are ongoing with the Taliban, during a visit to a reception centre for Afghan EU workers in Spain.

The negotiations with the new Afghanistan rulers, however, by no means meant recognition of the new government, she stressed on Saturday.

The main goal is to facilitate the evacuations. The first thing to do is to offer “legal and safe” escape routes to people in danger due to the Taliban’s seizure of power.

Von der Leyen also held out the prospect of an increase in humanitarian aid from the European Union. She said a proposal would be made in the near future.

“We need to help. Not only the Afghans arriving here in Spain, but also those who have remained in Afghanistan,” she wrote on Twitter.

There will be no funds for the Taliban if they do not respect human rights, she said, referring to the 1 billion euros (1.17 billion dollars) in development aid set aside for Afghanistan for the next seven years.

She said the aid is tied to strict conditions such as good treatment of minorities and respect for the rights of women and girls

The reception centre was set up at a military airport around 10 kilometres north-east of Madrid.

Since Thursday, this centre has also served as a type of European hub for the initial reception of all rescued refugees from Afghanistan who have worked for EU institutions, as well as their families.

After medical examinations and security checks, these people are to be distributed among several countries of the EU.

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