UK's Truss to confront China and Russia over Afghanistan

Foreign secretary will call on Beijing and Moscow to ‘act as one’ on Afghanistan

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. PA
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British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is due to discuss the future of Afghanistan with Russia and China at a meeting of ministers from some of the world’s largest powers.

Ms Truss will chair talks with foreign ministers from the US, France, China and Russia, which along with the UK are the permanent members of the UN Security Council, or P5, in New York on Wednesday.

She will use the meeting to encourage Beijing and Moscow to “act as one” with international military forces to prevent Afghanistan again becoming a stronghold for global terrorists after the Taliban retook control last month.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is also due to join the discussions.

The meeting will come a day after Ms Truss, who took over as foreign secretary after Dominic Raab was demoted in a reshuffle this month, accompanied Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his visit to Washington for talks with US President Joe Biden.

“The P5 have clear shared interests in maintaining stability in volatile regions to prevent terrorism and keep our citizens safe," she said before the meeting.

“If we want to avoid Afghanistan becoming a haven for global terror then the international community, including Russia and China, needs to act as one in its engagement with the Taliban.

“I want our foreign policy to be practically focused and geared towards strengthening our network of economic and diplomatic partnerships, underpinned by strong security ties.

“My visit to the UN is the start of an autumn where Global Britain leads the way on the world stage.”

The British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said that at the Security Council meeting, which will take place on the margins of the UN General Assembly, the five foreign ministers will “discuss the world’s most pressing crises”.

Officials said Ms Truss would call for greater co-operation among the members on maintaining international peace and security as conflicts and crises continue, including those in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Yemen and Tigray.

The last meeting of P5 foreign ministers with Mr Guterres was convened by China in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated: September 21, 2021, 11:01 PM

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