Economic sanctions on Afghanistan must end, says Chinese foreign minister

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BEIJING: China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the various unilateral sanctions or restrictions on Afghanistan should be lifted as soon as possible.

Economic sanctions on Afghanistan must end, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement, citing Wang at a virtual G20 foreign ministers meeting on Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves are national assets that should belong to the country’s people and be used by its own people, and not be used as a bargaining chip to exert political pressure on Afghanistan, he said.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio of Italy, the country holding the G20 presidency, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the virtual G20 foreign ministers’ meeting on Afghanistan to elaborate on China’s position and proposition on issues such as humanitarian assistance for and peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

Addressing the regular press conference on Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference said China holds that position the UN is the main channel when it comes to safeguarding peace and stability in and providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. “We hope that the G20, a forum for international economic cooperation, will play a constructive role,” the spokesperson said.

In response to a question, the Chinese foreign ministry confirmed that special envoys of China, Russia and Pakistan on the Afghan issue jointly visited Kabul and met with senior officials of the Afghan interim government.

The spokesperson said that at the invitation of the Afghan Taliban, Special Envoy on Afghan Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Yue Xiaoyong, Russian Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, Pakistan’s Special Representative on Afghan Affairs Mohammad Sadiq visited Kabul on September 21 and 22.

The special envoys met with the acting Prime Minister Mohammad Hasan Akhund, acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, acting Finance Minister Hidayatullah Badri, and other senior officials.

“They held in-depth and constructive discussions on the recent developments in Afghanistan, especially on inclusiveness, human rights, economic and humanitarian issues, friendly relations between Afghanistan and other countries, especially neighboring countries, and the unity and territorial integrity of Afghanistan.”

“They expressed support for the fight against terrorism and drug-related crimes. The Taliban side stressed that it attaches great importance to Afghanistan’s relations with China, Russia and Pakistan, and the three countries are playing a constructive and responsible role in consolidating peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the spokesperson added.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said the three countries called on the international community to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, stressing that the US and its allies bear the primary responsibility for Afghanistan’s economic and social reconstruction and should provide much-needed economic, livelihood and humanitarian assistance.

He said the three countries and the Taliban authorities agreed to maintain constructive engagements to promote peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and regional stability and development. During the visit, the special envoys also met with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and former Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah to discuss peace and stability in Afghanistan.

 China said it has always played a constructive role in the political settlement of the Afghan issue. “Afghanistan should reach open and inclusive political arrangements, implement moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, make a clean break with all kinds of terrorist organisations and live on friendly terms with neighbouring countries.”

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