Italy says Taliban government cannot be recognized, but Afghans must be helped

FILE PHOTO: Italy's Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio speaks during a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at Fiera Roma in Rome, Italy June 28, 2021. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Sunday that the Taliban government in Afghanistan could not be recognised, but urged foreign governments to prevent a financial collapse there that would spark massive flows of migrants.

Italy holds the annual, rotating presidency of the G20 and is looking to host a special summit on Afghanistan.

"Recognition of the Taliban government is impossible since there are 17 terrorists among the ministers, and the human rights of women and girls are continuously violated," Di Maio, who chaired a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in New York last week, told state-owned television Rai 3.

However, the Afghan people should start receiving the financial support that was frozen after the Taliban took power last month, he said.

"In a while they will not be able to pay salaries. Clearly, we must prevent Afghanistan from implosion and from an uncontrolled flow of migration that could destabilize neighbouring countries," Di Maio said.

"There are ways to guarantee financial support without giving money to the Taliban. We have also agreed that a part of humanitarian aid must always go to the protection of women and girls."

The G20 countries together with Afghanistan's neighbours are committed to fight against terrorism, and to work for the protection of human rights, Di Maio said.

Asked whether a date has been set for G20 leaders to meet on Afghanistan, Di Maio said that it will be "in the coming weeks".

"The date is not yet public but conditions are in place to convene the summit of the G20 leaders, who will be chaired by Prime Minister Mario Draghi," he said.

(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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