The Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, chaired yesterday a G20 ministerial meeting to exchange ideas on what useful contribution the Group could bring to ongoing international efforts in relation to the Afghan crisis.
Spain, the Netherlands, Singapore and Qatar were invited to join. Thirteen UN specialized agencies, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank took part in the virtual meeting.
The high level of participation (among others the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, sixteen Ministers, including the Foreign Ministers of the US, France, Germany, the UK, China, India, Spain, the IMF Managing Director and the WB President) confirms the priority that the international community assigns to Afghanistan file and testifies to the wide consensus on the input that the G20 could provide to a sustainable, coherent and effective solution of the crisis.
Participants concurred on the indispensable role of the United Nations and the importance of the continued presence of its Agencies in the Country, reaffirming full support to its efforts in assisting the Afghan people, as well as migrants in neighboring countries and IDPs.
Participants highlighted some shared priorities, among which the need for a prompt and effective action to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and the economic collapse of the country, especially in view of the incoming winter season. In this vein, the guarantee of free, safe and unfettered access to humanitarian assistance is key. In this respect, the return of the International Airport in Kabul to full operational capability was regarded as essential.
Security remains a serious concern and a firm appeal was reiterated for Afghanistan not to turn again into a safe haven for terrorists and extremists.
Finally, it was pointed out that respect for human rights, especially of women and girls, as well as the need to answer the Afghans’ legitimate aspiration to peace and well-being should be the guiding principles of any activity in and for Afghanistan.