Italy's PM hails progress after virtual summit on Afghanistan with world leaders

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Italy’s prime minister, Mario Draghi, expressed satisfaction at the progress made over aid and assistance for Afghanistan following a virtual summit of world leaders.

“There has basically been a convergence of views on the need to address the humanitarian emergency inthe country,” Draghi said.

Draghi pushed for the online meeting in his guise as chairman of the G20 group of leading industrialised nations.

Almost all of the world’s leaders were logged in except for Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both were represented by ministers.

Draghi, who will host the G20 summit in Rome at the end of the month, said that Aghanistan’s humanitarian and financial situation were of concern to the international community following the withdrawal of American troops after 20 years and the Taliban's return to power on 15 August.

Actions

Draghi said it was necessary to involve the Taliban government in some form to provide aid as winter loomed.

But he stressed this would not mean recognition of the Afghan leadership.

“Recognition is a political decision that will be taken only when the international community agrees that progress has been made, in respect of human rights, of women, education and essential individual freedoms," he said.

“The Taliban will be judged by what their deeds are not their words."

To coordinate the response to the humanitarian crisis, leaders agreed to channel funds through the United Nations.

Pledge

During the meeting, Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission President, pledged a support package from the European Union of 1 billion euros for the Afghan people.

Draghi also stressed the need to save the precarious banking system in Afghanistan to ensure payments can be made for humanitarian aid.

The leaders urged the Taliban to keep Kabul’s airport open as well as the country’s borders so that there can be freedom of movement to allow humanitarian access.

Participants also agreed that Afghanistan must not go back to being a refuge for international terrorism.

Draghi said cooperation and the exchange of information would be the main weapons in the fight against international terrorism

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