Influential lawmakers from G-7 want India to be invited to bloc's meetings on Afghan crisis

Taliban fighters | Photo: AP

Washington: Influential lawmakers from the G-7 countries have urged that India should be invited to attend the bloc's meetings that seeks to develop a common and united front for global security and regional stability in the aftermath of the Taliban taking control over Afghanistan.

US Senator Bob Menendez, who is also the Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his counterparts from Italy, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the European Parliament in a joint statement also said African Union should be invited to attend individual G-7 meetings when appropriate.

“The withdrawal of US and allied forces from Afghanistan should not be misinterpreted by the global community as any weakening of resolve from G7 governments in taking all necessary measures to combat cross-border terrorism, to support regional cooperation or advance democratic values,” Menendez and his counterparts from G-7 countries said in the joint statement.

“With the spillover of terrorism possible, we would like to see India invited to attend this G-7 meeting. As other terror groups are beginning to muster in the Horn of Africa and reawaken movements elsewhere, we believe the African Union should be invited to attend individual G-7 meetings when appropriate,” the lawmakers said.

“This would promote a regional shift for governments and ensure that the spillover effects of Afghanistan which could destabilise neighbouring countries are constantly monitored by those closest to the likely areas of threat," they said.

The export of terror, whether in South Asia, the Middle East, East Africa, or any other part of the world, should be met with swift and decisive action,” the statement said.

The G-7 is an intergovernmental political grouping of seven countries comprising the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. US President Joe Biden on Tuesday addressed an emergency meeting of the G-7 and other world leaders amid the withdrawal of America's troops by August 31.

Besides Menendez, the joint statement was issued by David McAllister, MEP, Chair, European Parliament; Jean-Louis Bourlanges, Chair, French National Assembly; Dr Norbert Rottgen MdB, Chair, German Bundestag; Piero Fassino, MP, Chair, Italian Chamber of Deputies; ABE Toshiko, Chair, Japanese House of Representatives; and Tom Tugendhat, MP, Chair, UK Parliament. The Canadian Parliament is dissolved for the forthcoming election.

The lawmakers demanded that no member of the international community of states should unilaterally recognise the Taliban regime. There must be a coordinated process, ideally through a resolution of the United Nations Security Council to ensure commitments entered into by the Taliban are seen as binding.

“The key criteria for recognition should include, but not be limited to: repudiation of all cross-border terrorism, including Al Qaeda and associated groups; equality of rights for girls and women; protection of minority ethnic and religious groups; commitment to democratic elections; and ending all narcotics-related activity,” the statement said.

“It is the actions that will count. A monitoring and enforcement mechanism should form part of any framework agreed with the Taliban to ensure compliance with its commitments,” it said.

There is little indication from its past or present behaviour that the Taliban is committed to any of these principles, so the G-7 countries should be prepared to isolate the Taliban and impose robust sanctions should violations reach an agreed threshold, the lawmakers said.

They said in order to implement an orderly evacuation of those most vulnerable within Afghanistan, the G-7 governments should avoid arbitrary dates for ending military support to the evacuation or imposing artificial caps on the number of evacuees.

Instead, these decisions should be driven by the steps required for an orderly process with the primary objective of protecting of the most vulnerable and assisting those in most need.

“As well as evacuation, the G-7 governments should call on the UN to coordinate the international community in responding to the likely refugee and humanitarian crisis. Afghans will be in need of emergency support, whether inside Afghanistan or out, and the role of the World Food Programme and the UNHCR will be essential to supporting those in critical need,” the lawmakers said.


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