Bad surprise for Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. Shortly after beginning her visit to Pakistan, she can no longer taste anything at lunch. A positive corona test is now throwing their travel plans upside down: all other appointments are being cancelled, as the spokesman for the Federal Foreign Office, Christofer Burger, announced on the sidelines of the trip in the Pakistani capital Islamabad. Originally, the Green politician wanted to travel to Greece and Turkey after her visit to Pakistan, which was planned until Wednesday.
Burger said there was a positive corona case in Baerbock’s family on Saturday. But she had little contact with him and has been consistently testing herself ever since. A quick test was still negative on Tuesday morning. The spokesman continued to inform about the further procedure for the return journey in the next few hours.
Before their talks, the foreign policy experts planted a pine tree in the garden of the Pakistani Foreign Ministry
At the beginning of her visit to Pakistan, Baerbock was received by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. It was initially unclear what consequences her corona infection would have for Zardari. With the cancellation of the appointments, a meeting with Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa is also canceled.
The focus of the talks with Zardari was the situation in neighboring Afghanistan. Since the Islamist Taliban took power in the summer of 2021, Pakistan has played a central role in the departure of vulnerable Afghans. After the meeting, Baerbock called on the international community not to forget the suffering of the people of Afghanistan, despite the war in Ukraine. “We are facing a humanitarian catastrophe,” said the Green politician. The people in neighboring Afghanistan, where the Taliban have been in power again since last year, should not be allowed to go hungry. “But anything other than humanitarian aid must be strictly conditional,” said Baerbock.
Baerbock has women’s rights in mind
Referring to the militant Islamist Taliban’s disregard for human and women’s rights, Baerbock said: “We have to be very honest. Our influence on what is happening in Afghanistan is very limited. It depends on the Taliban making rational decisions in their own economic interests. And they’re not doing that at the moment. The Taliban are heading in the wrong direction.”
At the end of August 2021, the last international combat troops withdrew from Afghanistan after almost 20 years. The Taliban had already taken the capital Kabul without a fight.
Pakistan demands release of Afghan assets
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Zardari called on the Islamic world to act together “so that we are better able to ensure that the Afghan regime meets international obligations”. In this way, an environment can be created “that reduces and does not increase the probability of terrorist activities”. The minister also called for the release of Afghanistan’s financial assets. According to him, this would be decisive for stabilizing the country’s economy.
uh/qu/kle/nob (afp, dpa, kna)