France and Britain will urge UN to create 'safe zone' in Afghan capital Kabul

The UN Security Council's permanent members will meet on Monday to discuss the Afghanistan situation

France and Britain will on Monday urge the UN to create a "safe zone" in Afghanistan's capital, to protect humanitarian operations, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

"This is very important," Mr Macron was quoted as telling the French Sunday newspaper Journal du Dimanche. "This would provide a framework for the United Nations to act in an emergency."

Such a safe zone in Kabul would allow the international community to maintain pressure on the Taliban, he said.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council - France, Britain, the US, Russia and China - will meet on Monday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan .

Mr Macron spoke as international efforts to fly foreign citizens and vulnerable Afghans out of the country were coming to an end.

France stopped removal flights on Friday and the UK followed suit on Saturday.

Mr Macron said on Saturday that discussions had started with the Taliban to protect and relocate Afghan nationals at risk beyond August 31.

He said France had flown 2,834 people from Afghanistan since August 17.

In the article published by the Journal du Dimanche, Macron said he envisaged flights in future "which would not be carried out at the military airport in Kabul" but perhaps via civil airports in the Afghan capital or from neighbouring countries.

Macron also took aim at conversations in some sections of French society, which he said "stir fears" about the arrival of Afghan refugees in France.

"My role is not to stir up fears among our compatriots, it is to provide solutions to resolve them," he said, assuring that he aimed to manage migratory pressures with "humanity, firmness, with an ability to protect our borders as necessary".

Updated: August 29th 2021, 4:27 AM
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