Germany’s Maas against Taliban speech at UN General Assembly

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is not happy about the prospect of the Taliban speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, as the Islamist militants have requested to represent Afghanistan there following their takeover of the country.

“I don’t think performances at the United Nations are helpful,” Maas said Wednesday in New York, where the world body’s 76th General Debate is currently taking place.

In a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, parts of which were obtained by dpa, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi requested the right to speak at the event.

In the letter, the Taliban argues that Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani had been “ousted” and that other countries no longer recognize him as head of state.

Maas said the important thing now was for the Taliban to respect human rights, especially women’s rights, to clearly distinguish themselves from terrorist groups, and to form an inclusive government.

These things would decide how future communication with the militant Islamist rulers would be conducted, Maas said. “In my view, an address at the United Nations General Assembly is not … the appropriate framework for making real progress on the issue,” he stressed.

After the withdrawal of NATO and US troops, the Taliban seized power of Afghanistan last month and re-established its “Islamic Emirate” after nearly 20 years.

The Taliban are seen now as the de facto rulers of Afghanistan by the US, Germany and other countries – but they do not yet recognize them as a legitimate government.

The UN Secretariat has forwarded the letter to its credentials committee for consideration.

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