The Malta Independent 24 October 2021, Sunday

Alfred Sant appeals for a united Europe on refugee crisis in Afghanistan

Saturday, 25 September 2021, 09:31 Last update: about 28 days ago

Former Prime Minister and Head of the Labour Party Delegation at the Socialist and Democratic Group (S&D) at the European Parliament Alfred Sant described the US withdrawal from Afghanistan as equivalent to “a second Vietnam” because of the similarity in the buildup of events and outcomes at the end of the two wars in which the US was involved

He was explaining his vote in favour of a resolution on the Situation in Afghanistan. While deploring the violent takeover of Afghanistan, the European Parliament resolution called for more humanitarian aid and a coordinated response to protect those most vulnerable.

Besides, the resolution on the Situation in Afghanistan condemned the ongoing persecutions, particularly, on child soldiers, women and girls. The resolution was adopted by 536 votes in favour, 96 against and 50 abstentions.

While agreeing with the general thrust, Sant, strongly disagreed with parts of the resolution, which requested a European Defence Union. He objected most of all to the proposed withdrawal of “unanimity in favour of qualified majority voting in the field of EU foreign affairs policy.”

He referred to the current belief among some policy makers that the way forward with Afghanistan should be similar to the “Western rapprochement to Vietnam.” This would include an organized strategy for refugees interested in leaving Afghanistan, the provision of financial assistance with “imposed conditionality” and a “relationship based on diplomacy and trade.”

Sant pointed out that the success or otherwise of the “Western rapprochement to Vietnam” approach will be determined by the Taliban readiness to take part in it. He emphasised that Western parties should recognize that the Vietnamese Communists had socially progressive policies whereas conservatism and religious dogmatism seem to be entrenched within the current Afghan leadership.

“It is therefore correct that this EP resolution condemns the ongoing persecutions in Afghanistan, the repression of women and minorities in the country. It is also right to request a continental approach to the refugee crisis arising from the US departure from the country”, Dr Alfred Sant stated.

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