Russia says it’s in tune with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban
UNITED NATIONS – The United States, China, Russia and Pakistan are working together to ensure that the new Afghan Taliban leadership delivers on their promises, especially to form a truly representative government and prevent the spread of extremism, a said the Russian Foreign Minister on Saturday.
Sergey Lavrov said representatives from Russia, China and Pakistan traveled to the Qatari capital of Doha and then to the Afghan capital Kabul to engage with both the Taliban and representatives of the “authorities secular “- former President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, who headed the ousted government. government negotiating board with the Taliban.
Lavrov said the interim government announced by the Taliban did not reflect “the whole of Afghan society – ethno-religious and political forces – so we are initiating contacts, they are ongoing.”
The Taliban have promised an inclusive government, a more moderate form of Islamic rule than when they last ruled the country from 1996 to 2001, including women’s rights, stability after 20 years of war and the end activists using their territory to launch attacks. But recent movements suggest they could revert to more repressive policies, especially towards women and girls.
“What is most important … is to make sure that the promises they have made publicly are kept,” Lavrov said. “And for us, this is the top priority.”
In a high-profile press conference ahead of Russia’s address to the high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, Lavrov addressed issues ranging from efforts to get the United States to join the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran to Russian mercenaries in Mali.
The United States pressured Iran to resume nuclear negotiations, but Lavrov said it was then President Donald Trump who pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal in order to declare that “time is running out, anyone can say it – but not Washington.”
He said Russia would like to see the resumption of negotiations to restore the original agreement as soon as possible. But the leaders of the new Iranian government “say they need at least a few weeks, and I hope not more, to form the negotiating team because they have had some personnel changes,” he said. declared.
Lavrov also defended the decision of Mali’s transitional government to hire a private Russian military company to help fight terrorists, saying it had a “legitimate” right to do so and that the Russian government was not involved. .
France has announced that it is reducing its forces to fight extremists in Mali and the region, Lavrov said. And in a scathing rebuke of their performance, he said, French forces “should have fought the terrorists who established a presence in Kidal (in northern Mali), but they failed to do so.” And terrorists continue to rule in this area. “
Edith M. Lederer, senior UN correspondent for the Associated Press, has been reporting internationally for almost 50 years. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EdithLedererAP