Russia Will Participate in the G20 Summit on Afghanistan If It Is Extended to Neighboring Countries

The Russian foreign minister says his country wants to see Pakistan, Iran, and other non-G20 countries at that meeting.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that his country is concerned about the security of its borders because of the current situation in Afghanistan and would therefore be willing to participate in the extraordinary G20 meeting on the Afghan crisis being organized by the Italian presidency if it is extended to neighboring countries.

"The most important thing for us now is the security of our borders and of the security organization," Lavrov said at a joint press conference with his Italian counterpart, Luigi di Maio, in Rome, after meeting with him and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, with whom he discussed the Russian presence at that G20.

The head of Russian diplomacy said that the lesson must be learned that "joint solutions are never easy." "We have been in contact with all parties in Afghanistan over these years, including the Taliban. However, when no results are achieved at the negotiating table, conflicts flare up again, and that is what has happened in Afghanistan," he added.

On the Italian proposal for an extraordinary G20 of world leaders next month, which he considered a more appropriate forum than the G7 because it "reflects our world," Lavrov said Russia wants to "better understand what role" its Western partners give it at such a meeting.

"We have been promised that (Russian priorities) will be contained in five principles of the agenda, but the fight against terrorism is the fifth point and our priorities are the security of the states in southern Russia and those bordering it," given the threat that the Afghan crisis poses "for them as well."

"This format has to be inclusive and integrate Pakistan, Iran and others who are not part of the G20" he said and added: "At this meeting we have obtained a promise from Italian colleagues that they will be invited as well."

Di Maio, for his part, assured that "there are no easy answers" in the Afghan crisis and that Italy, as president of the G20, has "a responsibility to favor an international consensus and define a common approach" that includes the countries that "will suffer the crisis, the neighboring countries".

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