The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, held a telephone conversation this Saturday with his American counterpart, Joe Biden, in which they have analyzed the situation in Afghanistan and have agreed that the bases of Rota and Morón temporarily accommodate Afghans who have collaborated with the United States.
Sánchez and Biden analyse situation in Afghanistan and the evacuation process
Sánchez has described this telephone conversation, the first he has had with Biden since he arrived at the White House, as “fruitful”. “We have addressed several issues of common interest, especially the situation in Afghanistan and the collaboration between the two governments in the evacuation of citizens from that country,” wrote the president of the Government through Twitter about the talk, which lasted about 25 minutes.
I have just had a fruitful conversation with President Joe Biden, @POTUS, in which we have addressed several issues of common interest, especially the situation in Afghanistan and the collaboration between both governments in the evacuation of citizens from that country. pic.twitter.com/wZ3ChcJzK0-
Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) August 21, 2021
The Government has communicated that the presidents have shared their concern about the situation in Afghanistan and have agreed on the need for the international community to act in a coordinated and supportive manner, especially to facilitate evacuation and repatriation operations.
Sánchez has informed Biden that Spain continues to work closely with its partners and allies in the tasks of evacuating vulnerable Afghans after the arrival of the Taliban to power. He also gave him details of the mechanism that Spain has put in place to act as a place of arrival and distribution of the EU’s External Action Service.
Sánchez and Biden have reaffirmed their willingness to continue to cooperate closely to facilitate these evacuation operations.The two countries have agreed to use the Rota and Morón bases to temporarily receive Afghans collaborating with the United States in transit to other destinations. Moncloa also highlights as proof of the collaboration between Spain and the US that this Saturday, at the request of the US, a Spanish plane landed at the Torrejón de Ardoz base carrying 64 evacuated Afghans who have collaborated with this country.
The White House, for its part, has highlighted in a statement “the dedication of the personnel (of both countries) in Kabul, where they are working to safely evacuate their citizens, the Afghans who bravely supported the work of the EU mission and other vulnerable Afghan citizens”. In addition, from Washington point out that “Biden praised Spain’s leadership in seeking international support for Afghan women and girls” and that “he thanked Sanchez for Spain’s assistance in temporarily sheltering Afghans at risk who are linked to the US at the bases of Rota and Moron”.
Sanchez and the US president had not held any conversation since the change in the White House until they coincided on June 14 in Brussels at the NATO summit. In the corridors of the headquarters of the Atlantic Alliance there was a brief chat between the two. This Saturday they spoke more slowly by telephone to analyze the situation in Afghanistan and how Spain and the United States can continue to cooperate in the process of evacuating Afghan citizens who have collaborated with both countries and with the European Union.
Hours before his conversation with Biden, Sánchez visited, together with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the Council, Charles Michel, the camp at the Torrejón de Ardoz air base where the citizens arriving from Afghanistan are provisionally installed before being distributed among the various member countries of the European Union.
Spain is therefore acting as an initial reception centre (in a gesture praised by both Von der Leyen and Michel), and Sánchez has therefore cancelled a trip he had planned to make next week to Egypt and Kenya, as he wishes to remain in Spain to follow this process closely.