Estonia and Afghanistan discussed bilateral relations, the Afghanistan peace process and regional and international cooperation during a virtual meeting on Thursday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia was represented by Undersecretary for Political Affairs Rein Tammsaar and Afghanistan was represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Mirwais Nab.
Main topics of discussion included bilateral relations, the Afghanistan peace process and the way forward, as well as regional and international cooperation in the process.
Nab thanked Estonia for participating in reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Estonia's diplomatic, financial and military contribution to assisting the people of Afghanistan. He paid homage to the nine Estonian soldiers who have lost their lives and the 92 who have been wounded in Afghanistan.
It was agreed by both men that the Afghan-led peace talks were at a critical point.
"Future developments depend on the political will of the parties to reach a peace deal, and on the situation on the ground," Tammsaar said. "We are working with our partners and allies to create the necessary conditions for taking the peace process forward. This is predicated on reducing violence and establishing a permanent ceasefire."
Tammsaar added that despite the historic agreement the United States and the Taliban made a year ago, the security situation on the ground continued to deteriorate and was taking a heavy toll on the civilian population.
"The daily targeted killings of civil society representatives and civil servants is unacceptable. Estonia would like to address this at the UN Security Council," he added. "Democracy and respect for human rights have become part of the new Afghan society, which directly affects the international support to the country. Estonia has pushed for preserving these gains and the meaningful participation of women in all levels of Afghan society and for the protection of children and minorities."
Estonia and Norway are the penholders for Afghanistan at the UN Security Council this year - a rare and great responsibility for elected members, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
"Estonia is aiming to keep the UN Security Council focused on the various aspects of the conflict, and contribute to the peace process alongside other EU member states and NATO," a statement from the ministry said.
Editor: Helen Wright