Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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UN: World powers agree on inclusive Afghan government

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 government.

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 government.

“Unity is everywhere,” he said.

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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