Russia signals not ready to let Afghanistan’s Taliban into UN
Russia signals not ready to let Afghanistan’s Taliban into UN
russian un ambassador vassily nebenzia speaks during a news conference at the united nations headquarters in new york us october 29 2021 photo reuters

No one is in a hurry to recognise the Taliban as Afghanistan's government, Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Friday, signalling that Moscow is not ready to allow the Islamists to represent Afghanistan at the United Nations.

He also said UN and unilateral sanctions on Taliban leaders would have to be addressed but "perhaps not right away."

"The question of recognition will arise when the international community makes sure that the promises and commitments that the authorities announced will be delivered," Nebenzia told reporters.

He was referring to Taliban pledges - made since group ousted the Western-backed government in mid-August - that included upholding human rights, particularly those of women and girls, and combating terrorism and drugs.

The United Nations is considering rival claims on who should represent Afghanistan. The Taliban nominated their Doha-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen as UN ambassador, while Ghulam Isaczai - the UN envoy representing the government ousted by the Taliban - is seeking to remain in the country's seat.

"When credentials are presented, they are presented on behalf of the head of a state," Nebenzia said. "If it's presented on behalf of a (head of) state which nobody recognises then make your conclusions yourself."

A nine-member UN credentials committee, which includes Russia, China and the United States, is due to consider the rival Afghan claims next month and decision will likely be made before the end of the year.

"The primary thing today is to stabilise the country," said Nebezia. "The economy is on the verge of collapse with the lack of any resources, which are frozen and are not being released anytime soon, judging by the statements that we hear."

Afghanistan parked billions of dollars in assets overseas with the US Federal Reserve and other central banks in Europe, but that money has been frozen since the Taliban came to power.

Shaheen posted on Twitter on Friday: "We call on the International Community to support Afghanistan with unfreezing nearly $10 billion assets of the Afghan people and resuming the development aid and projects pledged to Afghanistan."

Even the United Nations cannot get enough cash into Afghanistan to deliver aid to millions of people on the brink of starvation and is struggling to develop options to help stabilise the collapsing economy, UN officials have said.

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