Foreign Secretary William Hague and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed Afghanistan in their bilateral meeting in London on 15 February.
The Ministers reconfirmed their commitment to Afghanistan becoming a peaceful, stable, democratic, and economically self-sufficient state, free of terrorism and narcotics. Afghanistan and her neighbours should follow the principles of non-interference and not pose a threat to each other. The Ministers highlighted their readiness to continue providing multifaceted assistance to stabilisation and sustainable economic development of Afghanistan. They expressed their support for the “Kabul process” that, inter alia, envisages the transition of responsibilities for maintaining security in Afghanistan to the Government of Afghanistan and the Afghan National Security Forces by the end of 2014.
The Ministers expressed their support for the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan to achieve a comprehensive and representative political settlement, as well as for the work of the High Peace Council and the Government of Afghanistan’s Peace and Reintegration Programme. They welcomed President Karzai’s efforts to reach out to all Afghans who break all ties with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, renounce violence, and work within the framework of the Afghan Constitution. They stressed their ongoing commitment to the UN sanctions regime, as imposed pursuant to UNSC Resolution 1267. They agreed to continue efforts to consider carefully candidates for delisting from the consolidated list in accordance with UNSC Resolution 1822. They recognised the importance of the sanctions list in helping address the terrorist threat from Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and agreed to consider adding to the list individuals who support and finance the insurgency, in line with SCR 1822.
Ministers agreed to work together to support the Government of Afghanistan in achieving enhanced cooperation with international and regional partners including the UN, SCO, OSCE, CSTO, IMF, and World Bank, to help build a stable and economically viable Afghanistan. They stressed that any political process must be underpinned by broad international and regional support, and welcomed the positive engagement of Afghanistan’s neighbours.
Ministers confirmed the need to continue working closely together at political and operational levels to tackle illicit drug production, trade and trafficking in the region, which pose a threat to international peace and stability. They stressed the importance of tackling narcotics along the entire chain of production and distribution, including through support for Afghan-led eradication, promotion of alternative livelihoods, tackling illicit financial flows, intercepting supplies of precursors and taking measures to reduce drug use. Ministers agreed to continue providing practical and political support to existing multi-lateral cooperation mechanisms, in particular the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre and the UNODC Paris Pact. They expressed support for the concrete steps taken by the Government of Afghanistan to improve efforts on law enforcement and the fight against organised crime.
The Ministers stressed they would work together through the NATO-Russia Council to support the Government of Afghanistan throughout the transition process, emphasising the importance of implementation of the NRC Lisbon Summit tasking to develop a NRC Trust Fund for the technical service of “Mi”-type Afghan helicopters. The Ministers noted the important role played by the transit route through the Russian Federation’s territory. They also noted the successful counter-narcotics project carried out under the auspices of the NRC and the OSCE, aided by contributions from the UK and Russia and including a substantial contribution from the All-Russian Institute for Advanced Studies for the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation.