Wang Yi, in 2nd meeting with senior Taliban leader, talks of historic chance
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi renewed dialogue on Monday with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a senior figure in the Taliban-led Afghan interim government, just under three months after they met in Tianjin.
Wang”s latest meeting with Baradar, the acting deputy prime minister in the interim Afghan government, took place in the Qatari capital Doha.
When the two men met in Tianjin for the first time at the end of July, the Taliban had not yet assumed control of Afghanistan, nor had the country experienced the full extent of the turmoil triggered by the US military’s chaotic withdrawal from the country.
On Monday, Wang said the war-torn country is “in a critical phase with a transition from chaos to orderliness”.
Domestic governance, sanctions and the fight against terror topped the agenda of the Doha meeting.
Afghanistan now encounters a historic opportunity to fully control its fate and to achieve inclusiveness, reconciliation and reconstruction, Wang said.
In comments to Baradar, Wang voiced China’s expectation for the Taliban to carry out further efforts to boost unity in the country, while promoting openness, inclusiveness, reconstruction, and the rights of women and children.
The goal is to build a modernized country that serves the hopes of the Afghan people and the trends of the era, he said.
Baradar said the domestic situation is controllable and improving, adding that the government has been functioning properly. The country will draw lessons from its history and take a path that is suited to its national conditions, he said.
Afghanistan will further take inclusive measures to secure and attract more talent, and will step up efforts to empower women and children in areas such as employment prospects and education, he added.
On Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said: “As a traditionally friendly neighbor and cooperation partner of Afghanistan, China always calls for dialogue and engagement to guide the Afghan situation toward positive development and help the people tide over difficulties.”
The dire humanitarian crisis in the country is high on the bilateral agenda.
More than half the population of Afghanistan-a record 22.8 million people-will face acute food insecurity from November, according to a report issued on Monday that was co-led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and the UN World Food Programme.
“The impacts of drought, conflict, COVID-19 and the economic crisis, have severely affected lives, livelihoods, and people’s access to food,” the FAO said in a statement.
David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, on Monday said: “We are on a countdown to catastrophe and if we don’t act now, we will have a total disaster on our hands.”
During the meeting in Qatar, Wang Yi said China takes the crisis seriously, and has urged Western countries led by the United States to remove sanctions, “engage the Taliban in a practical, reasoned approach” and help the country move along a path of growth.
Also, China will further offer aid within its capacity to relieve the dire reality there and help catalyze reconstruction and self-reliant development, the Chinese foreign minister said.
Baradar voiced his appreciation for the respect and friendship shown by China toward Afghanistan during its difficulties.
It is the Taliban’s steadfast choice to follow a friendly policy toward China and it looks forward to strengthening collaboration with its neighbor in various fields.
On the East Turkestan Islamic Movement terrorist group, Wang Yi reiterated China’s hope that the Afghan Taliban will draw a line with all terrorist groups including the ETIM. He underscored that the ETIM would seek to jeopardize the country’s stability and long-term tranquility.
In response, Baradar said the Taliban attaches great importance to China’s security concerns, and it will resolutely honor its commitment with actions.
He reiterated the Taliban’s pledge to not allow any individual or group to hurt China from Afghan territory.
In a separate meeting on Tuesday with Amir Khan Muttaqi, the acting foreign minister of the Afghan interim government, Wang Yi said Beijing is ready to discuss cooperation in areas of economic reconstruction after the country regains stability.
China is ready to support Afghanistan’s wish to exploit its geographical advantage as the “Heart of Asia”, bolstering connectivity with other parts of the region and strengthening its self-reliance, the Chinese minister added.
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