China Indicates Support for UN Sanctions on Taliban
China indicated Tuesday it would support increased sanctions on Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, hours before the UN Security Council is set to vote on a resolution calling for the measure.
"As a close neighbor of Afghanistan, China has all along been following very closely the development of the situation in Afghanistan," foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said at a routine briefing.
"We support the decision by the United Nations which will be conducive to the political resolution of the question of Afghanistan," she added.
The UN announced Tuesday that it had withdrawn all foreign personnel from Afghanistan ahead of the likely implementation of new sanctions.
Russia and the United States are sponsoring the UN resolution which would impose an arms embargo and other sanctions on the Taliban to force it to close alleged terrorist camps and extradite Osama bin Laden.
The new curbs would broaden aviation and financial sanctions imposed last year after the Islamic militia refused to extradite bin Laden, a Saudi dissident and billionaire wanted for his alleged hand in US embassy bombings in East Africa in 1998.
Russia has been concerned with Taliban support for Chechen rebels, while China has expressed concerns that the Islamic extremist organization was harboring Muslim separatists from the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang.
Zhang said Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Lu Shulin met with Taliban leaders last week and discussed the ongoing civil war in Afghanistan and international efforts to end the conflict.
During the visit, "the two sides exchanged views principally on how to restore peace in Afghanistan as soon as possible," Zhang said.
The visit was largely seen as an effort by the Taliban to persuade China, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, not to support the sanctions -- BEIJING (AFP)
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