By Michelle Nichols and Daphné Psaledakis
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday that international recognition of the Taliban was not currently under consideration.
Lavrov was speaking on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. His comments come after the Taliban appointed a UN envoy, staging a confrontation over Afghanistan’s headquarters to the world organization.
“The issue of international recognition of the Taliban at the present time is not on the table,” Lavrov said at a press conference.
Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Monday appointed spokesperson for the Doha-based Islamist group, Suhail Shaheen, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the UN. The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last month.
Ghulam Isaczai, the current UN ambassador who represents the Afghan government overthrown by the Taliban, has also asked for his UN accreditation to be renewed.
Russia is a member of a nine-member UN powers committee – along with China and the United States – that will deal with competing claims to Afghanistan’s seat at the UN later this year.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the Taliban’s desire for international recognition is the only lever other countries have to push for inclusive government and respect for rights, especially women in Afghanistan.
When the Taliban last ruled between 1996 and 2001, the ambassador of the Afghan government they ousted remained the UN representative after the Powers Committee postponed its decision on rival demands at headquarters.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Bill Berkrot)