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UK calls on China and Russia to agree Afghanistan strategy

·1-min read
British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss arrives at the White House in Washington

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will on Wednesday call for China and Russia to agree a coordinated international approach to prevent Afghanistan becoming a haven for militants, according to a statement by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss at the United Nations.

Foreign ministers from Britain, China, Russia, the United States and France will meet with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres during the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Britain, which is currently co-ordinating the so-called P5 group of permanent United Nations Security Council members, will use the meeting to call for greater cooperation to improve international security, with a particular focus on Afghanistan.

The Taliban's rapid takeover of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of United States, British and NATO troops last month, has raised fears the country could once again be used as a training ground for Islamist militants.

"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," Truss said in a statement ahead of the meeting.

The Taliban have promised they will not let Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden plotted the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when they were last in power, again become a safe place for groups planning to strike the West.

Last week at a meeting of a China- and Russia-led security bloc Chinese President Xi Jinping said "relevant parties" in Afghanistan should eradicate terrorism and that China would provide more help to the country within its capacity.

Russian President Vladimir Putin used an address at the same summit to say Russia needs to work with the Taliban government, and that world powers should consider unfreezing Afghanistan's assets.

(Reporting by William James; editing by Grant McCool)

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