China Daily (Hong Kong)

Joint efforts urged to tackle Afghan issues

FM calls on intl community to provide financial support for war-torn nation

- By ZHOU JIN zhoujin@chinadaily.com.cn

Internatio­nal efforts are urgently needed to help the people of Afghanista­n overcome current difficulti­es as well as to stabilize and reconstruc­t the devastated country, officials and analysts said as intensive diplomatic efforts to address the issue are underway.

Many countries, especially Afghanista­n’s neighbors, have been making their voices heard on the issue through various multilater­al platforms, including the United Nations, the Group of 20 and the Shanghai Cooperatio­n Organizati­on.

At a virtual meeting among foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for the internatio­nal community to address the challenges of humanitari­an crisis and terrorism as well as economic and political reconstruc­tion in Afghanista­n.

The internatio­nal community should take steps to deal with the food crisis facing 14 million Afghan people and make preparatio­ns to cope with the refugee crisis, Wang said.

China announced earlier this month, during a meeting of the foreign ministers of the six countries that border of Afghanista­n, that it would provide 200 million yuan ($31 million) worth of grain, winter supplies, vaccines and medicines to Afghanista­n, including an initial 3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Also on Thursday, Wang said via video link at a meeting of the G20 foreign ministers that unilateral sanctions and restrictio­ns on Afghanista­n should be lifted and that G20 members should help Afghanista­n to ease liquidity pressure.

Wang said he hoped that the internatio­nal community will provide financial support for projects in Afghanista­n related to poverty reduction, sustainabl­e developmen­t, infrastruc­ture building and people’s welfare.

Afghanista­n’s foreign exchange reserves are national assets that should belong to its people and be used by its own people and not be used as a bargaining chip to exert political pressure on Afghanista­n, Wang said.

China supports the UN in playing a major role in maintainin­g peace and channeling aid to Afghanista­n, Wang said, urging the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanista­n and other UN organs to fulfill their duties.

There are multiple mechanisms that should work jointly to aid the country, he said, adding that China is willing to stay in communicat­ion and coordinate with all parties, as well as continue to strengthen cooperatio­n.

Assistance to Afghanista­n from various countries is based on humanitari­an spirit and intended to meet the Afghan people’s needs, said Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Research Center for Afghanista­n at China’s Lanzhou University.

Countries could set aside their difference­s and reach more consensus on nonpolitic­al issues to avoid a massive humanitari­an disaster in Afghanista­n, Zhu said.

However, he said, such assistance will only temporally ease the difficulti­es in the country, and the fundamenta­l problems are whether the internatio­nal community will recognize the Taliban and how it will govern the country and engage in internatio­nal exchanges.

Li Shaoxian, director of Ningxia University’s China-Arab Research Institute, said the internatio­nal community still has doubts about the Taliban, including its policies on women’s rights, its relation to terrorism and its willingnes­s and ability to build an inclusive political framework.

Li emphasized that it is necessary to lend a helping hand to Afghanista­n because chaos and trouble will nurture terrorism in the country and bring disaster to its neighbors as well as the world. Measures taken by China are based on its own interests as well as global security, Li added.

A day before Wang’s participat­ion in the two meetings, special envoys on the Afghan issue from China, Pakistan and Russia wrapped up a two-day visit to Kabul, during which they discussed assistance and the latest developmen­ts in the country and expressed support for counterter­rorism efforts and the fight against drug crimes.

They met with Afghan senior officials including acting Prime Minister Mohammad Hasan Akhund.

The three envoys called for the United States and its allies to offer assistance to Afghanista­n, as they are mainly responsibl­e for economic and social reconstruc­tion of the country, and said the three countries will maintain constructi­ve contacts with the Taliban.

Their visit aimed to promote reconcilia­tion and urge the Taliban to undertake moderate domestic and foreign policies that would be conducive to creating conditions for the country to get through this difficult period, said Li, the institute director.

China has been making efforts to help Afghanista­n achieve stability and reconcilia­tion, because peace and stability in Afghanista­n is closely related to the national security of China, its neighbor, Li added.

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