China calls for Afghanistan sanctions lifted

The United States and other Western countries should lift sanctions on Afghanistan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said. He made the remarks in an online speech on Wednesday to the second meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries in Tehran.

“We need to call on the US and Western countries to fulfill their primary obligations to support Afghanistan through its transition from difficulties to a new life. Apart from many other things, they should lift unilateral sanctions on Afghanistan and make it possible to start using state assets to meet the people’s needs,” he pointed out.

He added the Taliban is eager to have dialogue with the rest of the world, and the international community should help Afghanistan with its development.

Wang said Beijing was ready to host further talks between Afghanistan and its neighbours on the country’s future.

“The Taliban are eager to have dialogue with the world … China will host the third Neighbours of Afghanistan meeting at the appropriate time,” Wang noted in comments broadcast live by Iranian state TV.

The meeting of Afghanistan and neighbouring countries was attended in person by the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and China and Russia participated by video link.

The talks followed a similar conference involving Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries that was hosted by Pakistan in September, and are aimed at establishing durable peace in Afghanistan.

The United States and other Western countries are seeking ways to engage with the Taliban and ensure humanitarian aid flows into the country, without granting them the legitimacy they seek.

US officials and Taliban representatives discussed humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan this month in Qatar but Washington announced the meetings did not amount to recognition of the Taliban.

The United States and other Western nations are reluctant to provide the Taliban with funds until the militant movement provides assurances that it will uphold human rights, and in particular the rights of women.

At Wednesday’s conference in Iran, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian backed the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, state television reported. His remarks echoed Iran’s official stance.

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