Afghanistan situation dominates UN Security Council proceedings as India’s presidency draws to a close.
India will support “all efforts” to restart the peace process between Israel and Palestine, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla conveyed to the UN Security Council meeting on Monday which also witnessed tabling of an important resolution on Afghanistan.
“Given our long-standing and firm commitment to the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable state of Palestine, within secure, recognised and mutually agreed borders, living side by side with Israel in peace and security, India will remain fully supportive of all efforts to restart the peace process,” Mr. Shringla said. India’s presidency of the UNSC will end on Tuesday after a month during which the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan dominated the agenda of the topmost UN organ.
Later in the session, a resolution on Afghanistan drafted by the United Kingdom and France was taken up for discussion and possible voting. The draft resolution seeks protection of civilians and security guarantees for humanitarian access. The text reflects international concerns about the security situation in Afghanistan and its capital Kabul. The humanitarian access mentioned in the draft resolution is aimed at ensuring that people who are willing to leave Afghanistan will be allowed to do so under secure circumstances beyond August 31, the deadline for the U.S. troops to withdraw from the country.
It is understood that the resolution will be used to enforce a window of evacuation for foreign nationals who continue to remain stuck in Kabul. Apart from India and the U.S. many other countries have been unable to evacuate their nationals or allied Afghan personnel. At least 180 Hindu and Sikh Afghans remain in Kabul amid indications that the Taliban have delayed granting permission to them to travel abroad.
The resolution can also be used to force the Taliban to adhere to some of the basic international humanitarian norms. The Taliban have been demanding to take up the issue of representation on behalf of Afghanistan at the UN. But experts here believe it is likely that a discussion on the Taliban’s right to represent Afghanistan at the UN will get “pushed” till the group allows full evacuation of foreigners and others willing to leave Afghanistan.