ISLAMABAD, Dec 19 (APP): Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi Sunday said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will hold discussions with the international community and United Nations system for unlocking financial and banking channels for delivery of resources to the people of Afghanistan.
Addressing a press conference along with Secretary General of OIC Hissein Brahim Taha here at the conclusion of the 17th extraordinary session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, he said there was an awareness and recognition in the international community that a humanitarian crisis was looming in Afghanistan.
“We collectively feel that we have to unlock financial and banking channels for Afghanistan as people cannot be helped without the presence of banking services. The OIC members decided to forge a partnership between OIC and the United Nations system so that resources can be delivered to Afghanistan.”
He said OIC Council of Foreign Ministers had agreed to establish a humanitarian trust fund and launch a food security programme to help people of Afghanistan, facing a dire situation.
“It is felt that if we do not act then an economic collapse in Afghanistan can happen and time is of essence.”
“We can have a difference of opinion with the Afghan authorities but our focus should be on 38 million people of Afghanistan.”
If things would go wrong, not only Afghanistan but neighbouring countries would also be adversely impacted and the consequences would even be felt beyond the region, he noted.
“Helping people of Afghanistan is a shared responsibility and despite the desire, Pakistan alone cannot meet their humanitarian needs.”
The minister told that two documents had been unanimously adopted at the conference including a joint resolution on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and Islamabad declaration on the Palestinian situation.
He said the OIC foreign ministers expressed unity and support for the people of Afghanistan.
The OIC members discussed how to develop and adopt an institutional mechanism for disbursement of resources to the Afghan people, he added.
The minister said as COVID 19 was still prevalent and it was agreed that the OIC secretariat would engage with World Health Organization (WHO) for securing vaccines and medical supplies for Afghanistan.
He informed that the conference delegates agreed to appoint a special envoy of OIC for Afghanistan to engage with stakeholders and help in extending assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
The minister said the representatives of Afghanistan were heard by the international community at the conference and they shared with the delegates the developments in Afghanistan.
Special representative of the United States acknowledged the support extended by the interim Afghan set up in arranging safe passage for those leaving Afghanistan, he told.
He said the US special representative and the Afghan delegation met at the margins of the summit, adding the two sides which did not see eye to eye, had serious reservations and were not engaging, had a conversation.
The delegation of Afghanistan had a number of bilateral meetings during which they came to know about the expectations of the international community, the minister informed.
“This extraordinary session will play a role in evolving a better understanding and bridging the trust deficit between the different sides. At least the ball has started rolling.”
Qureshi said there was a viewpoint that the international community and the United Nations Security Council should not sanction Afghanistan as it impeded delivery of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
These sanctions should not come in the way of giving assistance to schools and hospitals in Afghanistan, he noted.
He said, “We have to work further to alleviate the sufferings of people of Afghanistan.”
Secretary General OIC in his remarks said the OIC appointed special envoy for Afghanistan would give a renewed hope to the Afghan people about resolution of their problems.
He said Islamic Development Bank announced to set up a special fund for helping people of Afghanistan.
He appreciated Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for playing a pivotal role in holding the conference during which many countries decided to extend financial assistance to Afghanistan.
To a question, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the United States recognized Pakistan’s constructive role in maintaining peace, evacuations of citizens from Afghanistan, and for mobilizing public opinion about humanitarian assistance.
He said the US special representative stated that he had a clear mandate to engage with the Taliban.
The US representative remarked that “we are ready to help alleviate sufferings of the people of Afghanistan and the humanitarian assistance will be made unconditionally”, he added.
The foreign minister said $ 1.2 billion were lying with the international financial institutions which could be utilized for the people of Afghanistan.
He said with the opening of financial and banking channels in Afghanistan, Afghans living abroad could send money to their relatives residing in the country.
He called upon the Afghan authorities to address concerns of the international community as it would strengthen their case.