The G20 (19 countries in the world, including Argentina, plus the European Union) on Tuesday held a video conference to analyze how to face the difficult crisis in Afghanistan. Organized by Italy, which currently chairs the G20The leaders of important countries such as Russia and China did not participate in the meeting, but some of their ministers did. The Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, who coordinated the meeting, ruled out that they did not participate for political reasons because they had given much advance notice that their ministers would do so. “It is essential that China and Russia and also India participate in the G20 in person, which will be held in Rome at the end of the month,” Draghi stressed. In any case, the Italian Prime Minister described the online meeting as “a success” because “it was the first time that the leaders gave a multilateral response to the Afghan crisis”.
At the conclusion of the meeting, which lasted about three hours, Draghi spoke with journalists at a press conference. “There was a total convergence and great availability to act together. There is widespread awareness that the humanitarian emergency that is developing in Afghanistan is very serious, “he said. Representatives of United Nations who participated in the meeting, spoke about a humanitarian catastrophe and they stressed that as winter approaches in that region, the situation is worsening.
“We were there for 20 years”
“In the G20 there is complete awareness of this emergency and of the enormous responsibility that we have in relation to Afghanistan, where we’ve been for 20 years. We are responsible and it is our duty to intervene ”, stressed the Italian Prime Minister. It should be clarified that not all the G20 countries participated in the invasion and war in Afghanistan, but that they were mainly members of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) (today 29 countries but not Argentina, Australia, Russia and China, among others, which are part of the G20).
Draghi clarified that the United Nations will be “the great coordinator of the response to the humanitarian crisis” in Afghanistan, but for that the Afghan authorities will be asked to leave the Kabul airport open so that the UN and neighboring countries can help.
At the meeting, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission (political leadership of the European Union), announced that the EU will allocate 1 billion euros to finance humanitarian assistance, money that will be dedicated to the Afghan people and the neighboring countries that are helping them. The president of USA, Joe Biden, for his part, announced that his country will donate 300 million dollars with the same goal.
Another important issue that was discussed was assistance to migrants, the thousands of people who would like to leave the country but cannot. That is why they spoke of the need to dialogue with the Afghan authorities about the need for neighboring countries and the United Nations to have freedom of movement in the country. “There are a lot of people who still want to go out and we have to help them”, Draghi said. The Italian government ensured the departure of 5,000 people from Afghanistan in recent months, Germany and the United Kingdom also did their part, Draghi recalled.
According to some data released by the Italian Prime Minister, there would be 600,000 people who have been displaced within the country and millions of people whose traces have been lost. On the issue of migration there is still no coordination, said Draghi.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that “Turkey cannot afford a new flow of migrants from Afghanistan”, given that his country has received thousands of migrants from other countries in conflict such as Syria and Iraq in recent decades (for which it received aid from the European Union). Erdogan made a proposal in this regard – to create a working group on migration chaired by his country – which should be evaluated by the G20.
What should be done is, among other things, to obtain from the Afghan government the possibility of organizing the so-called “humanitarian corridors”, that is, the creation of authorized bases in the country in question, which help the people they want. emigrate taking it to countries that receive it legally.
What everyone agreed on was that Afghanistan must no longer be a haven for terrorists which means that many countries will have to coordinate their counter-terrorism actions. According to the premier of India, Narendra Modi, who spoke on the video conference, it is important to maintain a united action of the intentional community on humanitarian assistance and on terrorism. And on this last point, the Indian president said that it is necessary “to reinforce action against the nexus between radicalization, terrorism and drug and arms smuggling” to preserve the socio-economic conquests of the last 20 years. It is known that in Afghanistan, but also in other Middle Eastern countries, terrorists feed on the proceeds of drug trafficking, especially heroin.
Regarding the rights of women, there was total coincidence that they must be defended so as not to return to what happened 20 years ago and so that all of them have the right to education, Draghi explained.
In order to bring humanitarian aid, to help migrants, “we will have to have contact with the Taliban but this does not mean that they are recognized,” he clarified. And to this context we must add the covid pandemic. “In Afghanistan it is necessary to continue the fight against covid. If nothing is done, the situation will worsen ”, he concluded.
This virtual meeting was intended to be a multilateral approach to one of the burning issues in the world that the leaders of the G20 will probably face again in a meeting in presence that they will share in Rome on October 30 and 31. Other countries that are not members of the G20, such as Spain, the Netherlands, Singapore and Qatar, and international organizations, as well as the UN, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, have been invited to the meeting.