China, Russia, India ministerial meet focuses on Afghanistan, Covid-19

New Delhi, Nov 26 (EFE).- The Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers on Friday focused on the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and the serious consequences of the unequal distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to developing countries.

The ministers expressed concern about the “deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan,” and “immediate and unhindered humanitarian assistance,” according to the joint statement following the RIC ministerial meeting, chaired by India and held over video conference.

China, Russia, and India have taken different positions regarding the Afghan conflict, with the former two opting for significant outreach to the Taliban regime.

However, the trilateral group on Friday expressed its consensus “basic principle of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and called for formation of a truly inclusive government that represents all the major ethnic and political groups of the country.”

Moreover, they called on the Taliban to “take actions in accordance with the results of all the recently held international and regional formats of interaction on Afghanistan, including the UN Resolutions on Afghanistan,” and address concerns regarding the human rights situation, political participation and security in the country.

Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis began to escalate to unprecedented levels after the Taliban came to power on Aug.15, as a result of economic sanctions to prevent Islamist leaders – several of them considered global threats – from accessing the international financial system.

This immediately wiped up the country’s coffers, and dried up funds for the healthcare system and humanitarian aid in the country devastated by decades of conflict.

The RIC statement condemned the imposition of “unilateral sanctions beyond those adopted by the UNSC” and “long-arm jurisdiction” considering them were inconsistent with the principles of international law, without directly naming any country.

These sanctions “have reduced the effectiveness and legitimacy of the UNSC sanction regime, and had a negative impact on third States and international economic and trade relations.”

The group, which has not met since September 2020 in Moscow, also stressed on the challenges faced to the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in developing countries.

The ministers underlined the importance of “a timely, transparent, effective and non-discriminatory international response to global health challenges,” with equitable and affordable access to medicines, vaccines and critical health supplies.

In this regard, the ministers also mentioned the ongoing discussions at the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the exemption of intellectual property rights for coronavirus vaccines, a proposal of which India and South Africa have pushed.

At the moment, just over 100 of the 164 WTO member countries support the exemption on aspects of intellectual property rights, close to the two-third consensus required for its approval.

The United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland, Germany and the European Union are a part of the bloc that continues to oppose the exemption. EFE


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