By Jonny Tickle
The spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry has asked the G7 political forum to clear up “what they want from themselves and the world around them” after Moscow was approached to join a meeting on the situation in Afghanistan.
Maria Zakharova was speaking to the TASS news agency after Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told a TV program that the G7 foreign ministers would be meeting with their counterparts from China and Russia on September 8 to discuss a joint response to the crisis prompted by the American withdrawal from Kabul.
The G7 is a regular meeting of seven of the world’s wealthiest so-called liberal democracies. Japan is the only member of the group outside of Europe and North America. Russia was a member of the organisation, as part of the then-G8, before it was excluded in 2014 following the re-absorption of Crimea.
According to Zakharova, Moscow has received word from Paris and Berlin regarding a meeting on Afghanistan, but there has been no talk of holding it in the G7 format.
“All this is happening against the backdrop of the G7’s scattered statements on Russia and its participation or non-participation in the format,” Zakharova said. “The partners clearly lack an understanding of what they want from themselves and the world around them.”
On August 15, the Taliban, designated a terrorist organization in Russia, announced that it had assumed control of Afghanistan, declaring that it had taken over the entire nation, including its major cities and border checkpoints. Since then, Moscow has approached the situation differently than most Western countries, with Russian President Vladimir Putin calling for the world to react based on the facts.
On Saturday, NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg called on China and Russia to help the US-led bloc to exert influence over the Taliban, both of whom have a better relationship with the Afghan-based organization than Western nations.
“I strongly agree that the whole international community, including Russia and China, needs to work to prevent Afghanistan being a place where terrorist groups can operate freely and prepare, organize, plan, finance attacks against our own countries,” he said.
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed that Russia would attend the inauguration of the new government of Afghanistan if it is inclusive and includes other ethnic groups from around the country.
“I think we will be happy to take part in such a ceremony together with other invited countries that influence the situation in this country,” Lavrov said.