On Wednesday 14 April 2021, Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, participated in two international ministerial meetings.
The first was the Ministerial Meeting on Building Peaceful and Inclusive Societies through Justice for All, which was held via video conference. In the context of the pandemic, this meeting focused on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 of the 2030 Agenda, about peace, justice and strong institutions.
Referring to the fact that the health crisis has worsened inequalities and injustices around the world and exposed the vulnerabilities of the most fragile states, Minister Jean Asselborn stressed that “the aspiration for justice, equality and equity is universal". Respect for human rights remains paramount, including democratic participation and equality before the law. He also highlighted the difference between the rule of law, which guarantees the protection of the most vulnerable people, and repression by law, which represents the abuse of the law to protect the privileges of the powerful.
Luxembourg's Foreign Minister went on to express the Grand Duchy's support for the joint letter addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, on the subject of people-centered justice.
Minister Jean Asselborn then participated via video conference in an extraordinary NATO Council meeting. Convened by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the meeting allowed for an in-depth discussion on the future of NATO's mission in Afghanistan (“Resolute Support” mission), in the presence of member states' Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Defence.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin consulted with the Allies on the withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan, initially scheduled for 1 May 2021.
Minister Jean Asselborn noted "that we now have more resources to put all our efforts into the peace process". He continued: “Our main objective must be to bring an end to the conflict through intra-Afghan negotiations and a process led by the Afghans themselves, while preserving the gains and progress made in terms of human rights, the state of law and the fight against terrorism".
The Ministers present at the meeting decided to end the Resolute Support mission, aiming for a complete withdrawal by 11 September 2021, marking the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that led to the invocation of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty for the first time in the history of the Alliance.
Luxembourg, like its Allies, confirmed that it will remain committed in its efforts with the Afghan people and continue to support the Afghan security and defence forces.
In addition, Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn took this opportunity to express his full solidarity with Ukraine in the context of Russia's recent military buildup on the border. He also reiterated Luxembourg's unfailing support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.