Germany's Maas begins four-day trip to Afghan neighbors
August 29, 2021
Ankara cannot take on the burden of a new migrant wave from Afghanistan, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said after meeting Germany's Heiko Maas. Turkey is only the first stop on Maas' four-day journey.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas promised aid for countries that border Afghanistan on Sunday.
He made the announcement as he embarked on a trip which involves five countries, all of which are playing a role in the ongoing efforts to get those in need of protection out of Afghanistan.
His first stop was Turkey, which could play a key role in operating the Kabul airport and the reception of refugees, as thousands seek to flee the Taliban.
Heiko Maas 'grateful Turkey will continue to run the airport'
"It is in our own interest to prevent the collapse in Afghanistan from destabilizing the entire region," Maas said as he promised humanitarian and economic aid. He also called for international coordination in dealing with the Taliban.
Turkey: Coping with another migrant wave is 'out of the question'
But Turkey has said it cannot take the burden of a new migrant influx from Afghanistan.
"As Turkey, we have sufficiently carried out our moral and humanitarian responsibilities regarding migration," Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said after talks with Maas.
Qatar's capital city of Doha houses the political office of the Taliban, functioning as the Foreign Ministry of the new regime in Afghanistan.
German negotiator Markus Potzel has been in talks with the office on issues related to evacuations.
Germany not walking away
Ahead of his trip, Maas said in a statement that the evacuation effort to date has been a "tour de force involving many partners" and that the situation in Afghanistan remains "extremely volatile and dangerous."
"Not only Afghans but also neighboring states are facing challenges that they can hardly overcome on their own," Maas added, referring to the mounting refugee crisis.
"I am traveling to the region today to highlight this: Germany's commitment does not end with the conclusion of the military evacuation mission."
The minister said cooperation should now focus on reaching an "agreement with Afghanistan's neighbors on how Germans, our local forces and other Afghans in need of protection can reach Germany quickly and safely."
"It also includes our offer to neighboring states to help them cope with the humanitarian and economic consequences."
Border evacuation now inevitable
Maas is expected to take part in talks that will allow evacuees to get from the Afghanistan border to German embassies quickly and safely.