Pakistan among states ready to mediate in Afghanistan: Lavrov

Published August 25, 2021
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a joint press conference with UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (not pictured) following their talks in Moscow on March 29, 2018.  — AFP/File
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a joint press conference with UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (not pictured) following their talks in Moscow on March 29, 2018. — AFP/File

MOSCOW: Russia, China, the United States and Pakistan are interested in serving as mediators in resolving the crisis in Afghanistan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.

“We remain committed to the task of establishing peace and stability on Afghanistan’s territory so that it poses no threats to the region,” Mr Lavrov said.

He also said Russia opposed the idea of allowing Afghan refugees enter Central Asia, the former Soviet region that lies between Russia and Afghanistan, or having US troops there.

“If you think that any country in Central Asia or elsewhere is interested in becoming a target so that the Americans could fulfil their initiatives, I really doubt anyone needs that,” he told a briefing during a visit to Hungary.

According to Reuters, Russia maintains close ties with Central Asia’s former Soviet republics and regards the region as part of its sphere of interest.

Islamabad says an inclusive political settlement is the best way forward for peace and stability

In Islamabad, Pakistan’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that an inclusive political settlement is the best way forward for peace and stability in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover. Pakistan fully supports efforts in that direction, he added.

According to a foreign ministry statement, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made the remarks in a phone call with Mr Lavrov about the situation in Afghanistan.

The statement said Mr Qureshi told Mr Lavrov that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is of critical importance for Pakistan and the region. It said Mr Qureshi informed the Russian foreign minister about Pakistan’s outreach to regional countries for consultations on the challenges arising out of developments in Afghanistan.

The statement quoted Mr Qureshi as also saying that Pakistan is facilitating the evacuation of foreigners stranded in Afghanistan.

‘Executions’

In Geneva, the UN human rights chief said that she has received credible reports of serious violations committed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, including “summary executions” of civilians and Afghan security forces who have surrendered.

Michelle Bachelet gave no details of the killings in her speech to the Human Rights Council, but urged the Geneva forum to set up a mechanism to closely monitor Taliban actions.

The Taliban’s treatment of women and girls would be “a fundamental red line”, she told the council’s emergency session, held at the request of Pakistan and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Independent UN human rights experts, in a joint statement, said that many people are in hiding as “the Taliban continues to search homes door-to-door” and that seizures of property and reprisals are being reported.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2021

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