Taliban govt not inclusive, but essential to work with it: Putin

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said that the Afghanistan government formed by the Taliban is not representative and inclusive, but it is essential to work with it as he stressed on the need to coordinate the stance of other countries on the issue of recognition.

Putin, addressing the joint meeting of the leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) via video link, said that the Taliban movement, having actually become the country’s sole master, formed its government, which assumed responsibility for Afghanistan’s future, Russia’s official TASS news agency reported.

This is an interim government, as the Taliban themselves say, and it cannot be really called representative or inclusive,” he said, adding that there are no members of other ethnic groups in it.

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“However, it appears that it is necessary to work with it too. As for recognition, I believe, and I agree with those who spoke about it, that we need to coordinate our stance on the issue,” Putin said.

The Taliban is banned in Russia.

Though the Russian government has not yet formally announced its recognition to the interim government of the Taliban, it along with China and Pakistan, has kept its embassy open in Kabul.

According to Putin, it would be optimal to foster the dialogue “through the mechanism of the extended troika on Afghanistan (Russia, China, Pakistan and the US), this work is already in progress.”

He also cited the previous Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan that involved other countries of the SCO and the CSTO.

“Its work can be revived if necessary and if all its member states agree,” Putin said as he mentioned his proposal to explore the possibility of resuming the activities of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, “which was set up to work with Afghan partners.”.

Founded in 1992, the CSTO groups six former Soviet republics of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan with the aim of safeguarding peace and stability in Eurasia.

On Thursday, the CSTO military bloc led by Russia said that the situation in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s seizure of power last month is alarming and it is ready to “take effective measures” to ensure safety of its member states’ borders.

Meanwhile, addressing the 21st summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at Dushanbe, Putin hailed the decision to grant dialogue partner status in the SCO to Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“A fairly impressive portfolio of applications from other states wishing to cooperate with the organisation in one capacity or another” requires careful consideration, he said.

Russia hails the decision to grant dialogue partner status in the SCO to Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, he said.

“Of course, we welcome the fact that dialogue partner status has been granted to Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Russia is a proponent of these countries’ active involvement in various aspects of the SCO’s activities,” Putin said.

“In practical terms, we believe it is appropriate to think about how to modernise and make more effective the participation of observers and dialogue partners in the work of the SCO.

“In our view, it would be useful in the future, in parallel with the summits of the SCO member states’ leaders, to hold top-level and high-level events in the so-called SCO+ format with the invitation of all our partners,” Putin said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Chinese President Xi Jinping also addressed the SCO summit via video link.

The eight-member SCO grouping of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan held its 21st summit at Dushanbe. Afghanistan is an observer in the SCO.

The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, is an economic and security bloc which has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations.

India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.

The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The SCO also has four Observer states — Iran, Mongolia, Belarus and Afghanistan and six Dialogue Partners — Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka.

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