US News: Lead 1-The G20 promises help in the face of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

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G20-Summit / Afghanistan (Lead 1, Photo): Lead 1-The G20 promises assistance in the face of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

(Updated at the end of the virtual summit)

by Crispian Balmer

Rome, October 12 (Reuters) - The G20 countries are determined to combat the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, even if it means to coordinate their efforts with the Taliban, said Tuesday the President of the Italian Council, Mario Draghi, host of an emergency summit organized by videoconference.

Since the Taliban have returned to Kabul on 15 August after a lightning offensive, the economic crisis has boosted in Afghanistan, also struck by a vast drought, which gives fear a mass exodus of refugees.

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"There has been a convergence of opinions on the need to respond to the humanitarian emergency," said Mario Draghi to journalists at the end of this special summit.

US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many European leaders participated in the virtual meeting. On the other hand, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin was absent, highlighting divergent positions on the subject.

Mario Draghi felt that the absence of Chinese and Russian leaders did not weaken the importance of the meeting organized by Italy, which occupies the Rotating Presidency of the G20. "It was the first multilateral response to the Afghan crisis (...) Multilateralism returns, with difficulty, but it comes back," he said.

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 First meeting between the United States and the Taliban since the American withdrawal from Afghanistan © Wakil Koshar AFP / File Taliban fighters in Kabul, October 3, 2021. An American delegation will talk with representatives of the Taliban from Saturday, announced on Friday the State Department. Human rights, the economy and humanitarian aid are on the agenda of this first meeting since the American withdrawal. A high-level meeting must begin on Saturday 9 October in Doha between an American delegation and the representatives of the Taliban .

Summit participants agreed unanimously of the need to mitigate the crisis in Afghanistan, where the financial resources of banks are exhausted, the salaries of civil servants are no longer paid and the prices of food products fly away, Fearing a vast famine.

In the vast majority, international aid will be headed by the United Nations. However, there will also be direct assistance from country to country, despite the refusal of most governments to officially recognize Taliban power.

"It's very complicated to imagine how to help the Afghan people without involving the Taliban (...) But that does not mean to recognize them," said Mario Draghi, repeating that the Islamist movement would be judged on his actions and Not his words.

The Italian leader said "Do not see progress for the time" on the fate of women in the country.

A Washington, the White House reported that the G20 leaders had discussed the "essential need to maintain special attention to our sustainable efforts to fight against terrorism, particularly in the face of the threats" of the Local Antenna of the Islamic State. (Ei).

In a common statement disseminated after the summit, G20 leaders call the Taliban to act against the extremist groups operating from Afghanistan. They point out that future humanitarian programs will have to privilege women and girls, and that Afghans wishing to leave the country must be able to do it safely.

Upstream of the Summit, Beijing has publicly requested that economic sanctions aimed at Afghanistan are lifted and that billions of dollars of international assets held by the country are unlocked.

Washington has indicated that Britain, where much of Afghan assets are, was refractory on Chinese demand.

No mention of this question is included in the final communiqué. (Report Crispian Balmer and Francesca Landini; French version Jean Terzian, edited by Jean-Stéphane Brush)

Afghanistan looks into the economic abyss .
Afghanistan's economy shrinks by up to 30 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). That's all the more dramatic, because the country is already working at an extremely low level.

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