2021-09-22 02:26:01 The Taliban nominate a U.N. envoy, complicating a quandary for the General Assembly.
The Taliban nominate a U.N. envoy, complicating a quandary for the General Assembly.
The Taliban have nominated an ambassador to represent Afghanistan at the United Nations, according to U.N. officials, adding a new wrinkle to the global organization’s already delicate diplomatic situation.
The nomination, which was submitted to Secretary General António Guterres on Monday, sets up a clash with Afghanistan’s deposed government’s envoy, Ghulam Isaczai, who has so far retained his post.
The conflict may not be resolved anytime soon. However, it raised the startling prospect of the Taliban — the violent, extremist Islamic movement that retook power last month after the American-backed government collapsed — occupying a seat as a UN ambassador.
Mr. Guterres’ spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, confirmed a Reuters report that the secretary general was informed of the Taliban request in a letter signed by Amir Khan Muttaqi, the movement’s foreign minister.
Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban’s spokesman based in Doha, Qatar, was named as the Taliban’s choice for U.N. ambassador, according to the letter.
The letter also stated that Mr. Muttaqi wished to speak at the General Assembly, which began on Tuesday and will conclude on Monday.
Mr. Dujarric stated that the Taliban’s request had been forwarded to the General Assembly’s Credentials Committee, which consists of nine members, including the United States. On Tuesday, it was unclear when the committee would consider the request.
Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who was aware of the Taliban’s request, said it raised several questions about Mr. Shaheen and those in the Taliban hierarchy who chose him.
“Who does he represent?” Mr. Qureshi stated this in response to questions about the request during a session with reporters on Afghanistan’s future held on the sidelines of the General Assembly by the Foreign Press Association. “To whom is he reporting? What kind of communication can you have with a non-recognized U.N. official? It is a complicated and changing situation.”
The triumphant return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan is one of the crises confronting the General Assembly this week, along with Myanmar’s brutal military coup earlier this year. Both events posed a conundrum for the world’s largest diplomatic gathering: Who is each country’s legitimate representative?
The Taliban are still subject to economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations. Many countries, including the United States, have stated that any Taliban request to replace Afghanistan’s envoy at the 193-member organization would be carefully scrutinized.
In Myanmar, the junta that seized power in February and has been widely condemned for a deadly crackdown on opponents has also sought to replace the deposed government’s UN ambassador with a junta loyalist.
Envoys from all political systems, including parliamentary democracies, monarchies, and dictatorships, have long worked at the United Nations, the only place in the world where even governments that oppose each other’s ideologies enjoy some measure of equality. Nonetheless, there are standards in place to ensure the legitimacy of both envoys and the governments they represent.
“Normally, a country has the right to nominate someone,” Volkan Bozkir, a Turkish statesman and the outgoing president of the General Assembly, told reporters at his farewell news conference earlier this month.
When it comes to resolving United Nations disputes over who is — and is not — a country’s rightful envoy, Mr. Bozkir says, “we can’t say, ‘I don’t like this government.'”
Even if rivals oppose it, a seat at the United Nations is symbolic, serving as a barometer of a government’s credibility and acceptance in the international community.
Membership in the United Nations provides governments with the opportunity not only to speak and be heard in the General Assembly, but also to participate in a variety of other U.N. agencies such as the World Health Organization and the Human Rights Council. As a result, a country’s ambassador’s authorization to speak on its behalf is extremely important.