Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 26 October 2021 4.24 PM IST

SAARC meet cancelled as Pak insists on Taliban participation


NEW DELHI: South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) foreign ministers meet slated to be held on Saturday in New York has been cancelled. It is learnt from reliable sources that Pakistan wanted the Taliban to represent Afghanistan in the SAARC meet.

India along with some other members objected to the proposal and due to lack of consensus or concurrence meet has been cancelled. Nepal was the host of the meet, which is annually held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Taliban has not been recognised by India to date. The new regime in Kabul is still not recognised by the world and top cabinet ministers are blacklisted by the UN. Amir Khan Muttaqi is the acting foreign minister of the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan and he is unlikely to attend any UN and affiliated meetings.

In fact, last week Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meet said that the Taliban is a non-inclusive government, the world must think before accepting or recognising the regime in Afghanistan.

He also pointed out that women, minorities have no representation in the government in Kabul. The SAARC is the regional intergovernmental organization of eight countries of South Asia--Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

It is learnt that the majority of members in SAARC agreed that empty chair can be kept for Afghanistan during the meet. However, Pakistan did not agree and the meet was called off. SAARC Secretariat told ANI that the meeting was cancelled due to the lack of concurrence from all member states as of today.

The Taliban on Tuesday nominated their Doha-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen as Afghanistan's UN ambassador. This comes after the Taliban said that they wanted to address world leaders at United Nations, reported a UK-based media.

Meanwhile, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani urged world leaders not to boycott the Taliban, reported Al Jazeera. The ruling emir of Qatar urged world leaders gathered at the United Nations against turning their backs on Afghanistan's Taliban rulers.

Al Thani stressed, "the necessity of continuing dialogue with Taliban because boycott only leads to polarisation and reactions, whereas dialogue could bring in positive results".

The waving of sanctions on the Taliban is not on the UN Security Council agenda but the issue should be given careful consideration, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia told Sputnik on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

"The topic of lifting the sanctions imposed on the Taliban via the Security Council is not on the agenda right now. Of course, this is an important issue, and sooner or later it will still have to be solved," Nebenzia said.

However, this issue should not be rushed as the situation must be carefully considered, according to the Russian official "I [can] say that practically all members of the Council, and not just the five members of its permanent members, have repeatedly, during their speeches on the topic of Afghanistan, talked about the cautious approach toward the new Afghan authorities," he added.

The ruling emir of Qatar, whose nation has played a pivotal role in Afghanistan in the wake of the US withdrawal, urged world leaders gathered at the United Nations against turning their backs on the country's Taliban rulers.

Speaking from the podium of the UN General Assembly Tuesday, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani stressed "the necessity of continuing dialogue with Taliban because boycott only leads to polarization and reactions, whereas dialogue could bring in positive results."

His warning was directed at the many heads of state worried about engaging with the Taliban and recognizing their takeover of Afghanistan.

The Taliban say they want international recognition. The group challenged the credentials of Afghanistan's former UN ambassador and are asking to speak at the UN General Assembly's high-level meeting of world leaders.

They say it is the responsibility of the United Nations to recognise their government and for other countries to have diplomatic relations with them. Senior State Department officials said they were aware of the Taliban's request as the US is a member of the UN credentials committee, but they would not predict how that panel might rule.

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