23 Sep 2021, 09:30

World powers agree at UN on inclusive Afghan government

 UNITED NATIONS, United States, Sept 23, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - The five
permanent UN Security Council members found common ground Wednesday on
Afghanistan with officials saying all the powers would press the Taliban to
be more inclusive after their military takeover.

   China and Russia have described last month's Taliban victory as a defeat
for the United States and moved to work with the insurgents, but no country
has moved to recognize a government that includes international pariahs.

   The Security Council powers all want "a peaceful and stable Afghanistan
where humanitarian aid can be distributed without problems and without
discrimination," Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters after the
meeting during the annual General Assembly.

   They seek "an Afghanistan where the rights of women and girl are
respected, an Afghanistan that is not a sanctuary for terrorism, an
Afghanistan with an inclusive government representing all sections of the
population," he said.

   US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the foreign ministers of Britain,
France and Russia met in person while their Chinese counterpart Wang Yi
joined them virtually for the talks of just over an hour.

   A US official described the meeting called by British Foreign Secretary
Liz Truss as "constructive" and with "a lot of convergence," including hopes
that the Taliban respect the rights of women and girls.

   "I don't think anybody is satisfied with the composition of this interim
government, including the Chinese," the official said.

   Speaking to AFP before the meeting, China's ambassador to the United
Nations, Zhang Jun, agreed that the five powers all wanted an inclusive

   "Unity is everywhere," he said.

   China has previously criticized the United States for freezing billions of
dollars in Afghan assets.

   But Beijing is also keen for the neighboring nation not to be a base for
outside extremist groups.

   Afghanistan was also the subject of virtual talks by the Group of 20 major
economies that included the participation of several other nations including
Qatar, the hub for Taliban diplomacy. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas,
addressing the G20, renewed concern about the Islamists' caretaker government
which includes no non-Taliban and no women but has ministers blacklisted by
the United Nations on terrorism allegations.

   "The announcement of a non-inclusive government was a tactical mistake by
the Taliban, as it will make it harder for us to engage with them," Maas

   "It is important that they hear this from all of us. And we should also
speak with one voice when it comes to the basic political parameters and
benchmarks for any future engagement with them."

   The Taliban have requested to speak at the UN General Assembly but the
United States, which sits on the credentialing committee, has made clear that
no decision will be made before the summit ends early next week.



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