Russia says it is in tune with US, China and Pakistan on Taliban | New

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UNITED NATIONS (PA) – Russia, China, Pakistan and the United States 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 the extremism, Russia’s foreign minister said on Saturday.

Sergey Lavrov said the four countries were in constant contact. He said representatives from Russia, China and Pakistan recently visited Qatar and then the Afghan capital Kabul to engage with the Taliban and representatives of “secular authorities” – former President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, who headed the ousted government’s negotiating council. with the Taliban.

Lavrov said the interim government announced by the Taliban did not reflect “the full spectrum of Afghan society – ethno-religious and political forces – so we are making contacts.” They are in progress.

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 respecting women’s rights, ensuring stability after 20 years of war, by fighting terrorism and extremism and preventing militants from using their territory. to launch attacks. Corn recent moves suggest that they may 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 and in his subsequent address to the United Nations General Assembly, Lavrov criticized the Biden administration, especially for its hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan.

He declared that the withdrawal of the United States and NATO “was carried out without any consideration of the consequences (…) that there remain many weapons in Afghanistan”. It remains essential, he said, that such weapons are not used for “destructive purposes”.

Later, in his address to the Assembly, Lavrov accused the United States and its Western allies of “persistent attempts to diminish the role of the UN in solving today’s key issues or to push it aside.” or make it a malleable tool to promote someone’s selfish interests. “

As an example, Lavrov said that Germany and France recently announced the creation of an Alliance for Multilateralism “although what type of structure could be more multilateral than the United Nations? “

The United States is also bypassing the UN, he said, pointing to the recent US announcement of a “summit for democracy” despite, Lavrov said, US President Joe Biden’s pledge this week “that the United States is not looking for a world divided into opposing blocs. “

“It goes without saying that Washington is going to choose the participants itself, thus hijacking the right to decide how well a country meets the standards of democracy,” Lavrov said. “Essentially, this initiative is very much in the spirit of a Cold War, as it declares a new ideological crusade against all dissidents.”

Lavrov was asked about Russia’s reaction to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warning last week that the world could be plunged into a new Cold War potentially more dangerous than the long war between the United States and the former Soviet Union unless the United States and China mend their “totally dysfunctional” relationship.

He replied: “Of course, we see the tension tightening in the relations between China and the United States.” , include “deterring the development of China,” the South China Sea disputes and the recent agreement between the United States and Britain to supply nuclear submarines to Australia.

More generally, Lavrov said, relations between the great powers must be “respectful”.

The great powers have a “great responsibility”, he said, to negotiate and compromise on the critical issues facing the world and that Russia is “revitalizing” its proposal for a summit of the five. permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, United States, United Kingdom and France. He said discussions were underway on specific issues for an agenda and “maybe we could start with an online meeting”.

On other global issues, 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 process. the nuclear deal, to state that “time is running out, anyone could say this – but not Washington.

In his first speech to the General Assembly Earlier this week, new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi criticized the United States but did not appear to rule out a return to the negotiating table for the nuclear deal, saying Iran considers the talks useful if their end result is the lifting of all sanctions. Yet he said: “We do not trust the promises made by the US government.”

Lavrov said Russia would like to see the resumption of negotiations to restore the original agreement as soon as possible. “We have a very serious hope – and I think it is well-founded optimism – that we will get results,” he said, because “this is something everyone wants.”

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Edith M. Lederer, senior UN correspondent for the Associated Press, has been reporting internationally for nearly 50 years. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EdithLedererAP

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