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Selasa, 12 Oktober 2021

G20 pledges help for Afghan humanitarian crisis at special summit - ABC News

The Group of 20 major economies (G20) is determined to tackle the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, even if it means having to coordinate efforts with the Taliban, according to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi who hosted an emergency summit.

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan on August 15, the country — already struggling with drought and severe poverty following decades of war — has seen its economy all but collapse, raising the spectre of an exodus of refugees.

"There has basically been a convergence of views on the need to address the humanitarian emergency," Mr Draghi told reporters at the end of a video conference.

Concerns were raised that an already precarious humanitarian and financial situation will grow catastrophic over the northern winter.

G20 leaders also demanded that the Taliban government allow humanitarian access across Afghanistan, keep Kabul Airport and the country's borders open and ensure security for UN, humanitarian and diplomatic staff.

US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many European leaders took part, however, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not dial in, suggesting differing international positions on the emergency.

Mr Draghi said the absence of the latter two leaders did not undercut the importance of the meeting organised by Italy, the current G20 chair.

There was unanimous agreement among the participants about the need to alleviate the crisis in Afghanistan, where banks are running out of money, civil servants have not been paid and food prices have soared, leaving millions at risk of severe hunger.

During the meeting, the European Union announced a support package worth 1 billion euros ($1.57 billion), which includes 300 million euros ($470 million) that had been committed earlier.

Aid 'does not mean recognition'

Italian Premier Mario Draghi
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi says the Taliban will be judged by their deeds, not their words.(AP: Gregorio Borgia)

Much of the aid effort will be channelled through the United Nations, but there will also be direct country-to-country assistance, despite a refusal by most states to officially recognise the hardline Taliban government.

"It is very hard to see how you can help people in Afghanistan without involving the Taliban … but that does not mean [officially] recognising them," Mr Draghi said.

He said the Taliban would be judged by their deeds, not their words, and the world was especially concerned about the plight of women in the impoverished nation.

"At this time, we don't see progress," Mr Draghi said.

The White House said leaders had discussed "the critical need to maintain a laser-focus on our enduring counter-terrorism efforts, including against threats from ISIS-K".

In a joint statement after the meeting, the G20 leaders called on the Taliban to tackle militant groups operating out of the country.

They said future humanitarian programs should focus on women and girls, and that safe passage should be given to those Afghans who wished to leave the country.

Ahead of the meeting, China demanded that economic sanctions on Afghanistan be lifted and that billions of dollars of Afghan international assets be unfrozen and handed back to Kabul.

The United States and Britain, where many of the assets are being held, are resisting this effort, and there was no mention of the matter in the final statement.

Tuesday's meeting comes less than three weeks before the formal G20 leaders summit in Rome on October 30 and 31, which is due to focus on climate change, the global economic recovery, tackling malnutrition and the COVID-19 pandemic.

That meeting will be held immediately before the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will run from October 31 to November 12 in Glascow.

AP/Reuters

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2021-10-12 23:05:03Z
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