G7 tell Taliban to reverse ‘reckless and dangerous’ ban on female aid workers

UN aid programmes in Afghanistan under threat after decision to bar women from agencies and charities, foreign ministers warn

Major world powers have called on the Taliban to urgently reverse a “reckless and dangerous” decision to ban women from working for aid agencies and charities.

In a joint statement, foreign ministers from 12 countries, as well as an EU representative, warned the ban on women working in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) would have an inevitable impact on UN aid programmes because many of these multimillion-dollar relief efforts were delivered and designed by NGOs.

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We need to talk about Xi Jinping: G7’s discord over powerful trading partner

Disagreements have opened up about strategy when China is also seen as an existential threat

Western powers in the G7 group of nations are failing to coordinate their China strategies, senior western officials admit, adding that the need to do so has been given sharp impetus by Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power at this month’s Communist party congress.

The G7’s poor coordination reflects a deep disagreement, also reflected within the EU, about whether dialogue and trade with China have a future if Beijing is seen as an existential threat that requires strict strategic controls on economic ties.

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Cost of living crisis: what are the rest of the G7 doing?

From generous one-off benefit payments to caps on rent increases, state intervention is taking shape across the G7

As Liz Truss’s government prepares to unveil a huge package of tax cuts, alongside energy price caps for UK households and businesses worth an estimated £150bn, here is what the rest of the G7 are doing to ease the cost of living crisis.

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Response to Russia’s war in Ukraine dominates G7 summit

Analysis: Talks close with pledge to support Kyiv for ‘as long as it takes’ but price caps on Kremlin oil and gas remain sticking point

Western leaders ended the three-day G7 summit in Germany promising to increase the economic and political costs to Vladimir Putin and his regime of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The German chancellor and chair of the G7, Olaf Scholz, made the vow at a closing press conference in which he said the group were united and unbreakable, adding: “It is important to stand together for this over the long distance, which will certainly be necessary.”

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Truss bills UK G7 meeting as a show of western unity against China and Russia

Foreign secretary says summit is a ‘chance to show a united front against malign behaviour’

A new show of western unity against Russia and China is being lined up by the UK foreign secretary Liz Truss as she hosts a weekend meeting of G7 foreign ministers starting on Saturday.

The G7 meeting, held against the backdrop of a potential invasion of Ukraine, tensions in the South China Sea and the potential collapse of the Iran nuclear deal, is being billed by Truss as a “chance to show a united front against malign behaviour – including Russian posturing towards Ukraine.”

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UK invites south-east Asian nations to G7 summit amid Aukus tensions

The alliance between Britain, the US and Australia has divided the region and angered China

The UK has invited south-east Asian nations to attend a G7 foreign ministers meeting in Liverpool next month, in a move that risks highlighting concerns that the new alliance between Britain, the US and Australia will fuel a regional nuclear arms race.

States from the Association of South-East Asian Nations are divided on the new Aukus partnership but some, notably Indonesia and Malaysia, have sharply criticised it, and many in the 10-member bloc are reluctant to take sides in the unfolding superpower rivalry between the US and China.

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International talks aim for consensus on Taliban government

Western G7 powers are meeting Turkey, Qatar and Nato in Doha to discuss how Kabul airport could be reopened

Talks are due in Doha and New York to try to reach an international consensus on the conditions for recognising the Taliban government in Afghanistan. There are signs of tensions between superpowers after Russia called on the US to release Afghan central bank reserves that Washington blocked after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul earlier this month.

“If our western colleagues are actually worried about the fate of the Afghan people, then we must not create additional problems for them by freezing gold and foreign exchange reserves,” said the Kremlin’s envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov.

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Biden pours salt into wounds of relations with Europe at G7 meeting

Analysis: US president dashes hopes he might acknowledge damage done by handling of Afghan withdrawal

In the end it took only seven minutes for Joe Biden to pour salt into the wounds of his fractured relationship with European leaders, telling them firmly on a video call that he would not extend the 31 August deadline for US troops to stay in Kabul, as he had been asked by the French, Italians and most of all the British. The rebuff follows Biden’s earlier decision in July to insist on the August deadline previously set in 2020 by Donald Trump for the withdrawal, a decision the US president relayed to his EU colleagues as a fait accompli.

For Europe the episode has been a rude awakening, and a moment of sober reassessment. Only on 25 March Charles Michel had afforded Biden the chance to address a meeting of the European Council, the first foreign leader given the honour since Barack Obama 11 years earlier. Biden after all had said his foreign policy would only be as strong as his system of alliances, the true shield of the republic, and Europe would be at the heart of that system.

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Afghanistan: G7 leaders to seek unity on Taliban as deadline for evacuation looms

Group of world leaders expected to discuss fraught evacuation deadline, sanctions and human rights

G7 leaders will be under pressure to present a united front at an emergency summit on Afghanistan on Tuesday despite public divisions over the deadline to complete evacuations from the country by 31 August.

With the deadline to get out of Kabul looming, British prime minister Boris Johnson will chair online talks where, diplomatic sources told Reuters, G7 nations were expected to show unity on areas including whether to sanction or officially recognise the Taliban to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and protect the human rights of vulnerable groups.

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The Guardian view on the G7 Afghanistan talks: desperate damage limitation | Editorial

Lack of planning and coordination has left the west scrambling to do the right thing

At the weekend, in advance of Tuesday’s crisis meeting of G7 leaders, Boris Johnson tweeted that it was vital for the international community to work together to “ensure safe evacuations, prevent a humanitarian crisis and support the Afghan people to secure the gains of the last 20 years”. Had this exhortation been made at June’s G7 summit in Cornwall – when America’s intention to pull out of Afghanistan at reckless speed was already known – it would have been a little more impressive and meaningful.

Delivered belatedly against a backdrop of lethal chaos and confusion at Kabul airport, the prime minister’s words serve only to underline how little planning and coordination took place when both were urgently required. As a result of Joe Biden’s precipitate haste to get the withdrawal over and done with, and the negligent response of allies such as Britain, a humanitarian crisis is already in train. For tens of thousands of justifiably terrified Afghanis, the evacuation process is a dangerous lottery that represents a betrayal of the trust they placed in the west. The “gains of the last 20 years”, such as greater freedoms for women and girls, will now be subject to the internal politics of the Taliban, as it decides which face it wishes to present to the world.

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Afghanistan: what does each nation hope to get out of the G7 meeting?

Analysis: Tuesday’s meeting called by Boris Johnson may include postmortem on Joe Biden’s handling of crisis

The emergency meeting of G7 nations on Tuesday – called by Boris Johnson as this year’s chair of the G7 – is in essence a gathering of the vanquished but faces a threefold agenda: how to ensure as many Afghans as possible can leave Kabul, and whether the US is prepared to stay beyond the original 31 August deadline for the withdrawal of all US forces; how a resettlement programme can be coordinated for the medium term; and finally, how to encourage the Taliban to form an inclusive government, including by threatening sanctions or withholding recognition.

But each country will bring its own concerns and an ugly postmortem on Joe Biden’s handling of the crisis cannot be ruled out.

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UK evacuation from Afghanistan ‘down to hours not weeks’

Defence secretary says British evacuation effort cannot continue once US troops leave Kabul

The British effort to evacuate people by air from Kabul is “down to hours now, not weeks”, the defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has said.

He admitted there was no prospect of Britain continuing the operation to fly its nationals and Afghans out from Kabul airport after the US decides to withdraw its troops.

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Johnson to urge Biden to keep US troops at Kabul airport after 31 August

PM’s request to be made at G7 summit as Taliban increases grip on access to flights

Boris Johnson will lobby Joe Biden at the G7 leaders’ summit, No 10 has said, pleading with him to keep US troops at Kabul airport beyond the end of August, after a weekend of tension between the UK and its closest ally.

With the Taliban tightening their grip at the airport, Downing Street confirmed on Sunday night that the PM would lobby the US president to maintain a presence after 31 August when the leaders hold a virtual meeting on Tuesday.

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Expect China to be furious at being cast as a threat to the west

Analysis: some observers say Beijing may well seek to undermine Nato unity in response to being accused of posing a systemic challenge to western values

When the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) was established on 4 April 1949, its mission was to counterbalance armies from the Soviet Union that were stationed in central and eastern Europe after the conclusion of the second world war.

After Emmanuel Macron, the current leader of one of its founding members, France, called it “brain-dead” in 2019, some analysts said the alliance will have to look for a new unifying mission to keep itself relevant in the new age of great power competition between the US and China.

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China accuses G7 of ‘manipulation’ after criticism over Xinjiang and Hong Kong

The Chinese embassy in the United Kingdom has responded angrily to the communique and accused the G7 of ‘interfering’

China has accused the G7 of “political manipulation” after it criticised Beijing over its human rights record in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

In a communique after a three-day summit in England, G7 leaders criticised China over abuses against minorities in the Xinjiang region and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, while US President Joe Biden called for Beijing to “start acting more responsibly in terms of international norms on human rights”.

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