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Indonesian Foreign Minister Attends UN Secretary General's Meeting, Discusses Afghan Women

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Afghan women weave a carpet at a traditional factory in Kandahar on Monday (19/02/2024). (Photo: AFP/Sanaullah Seiam) Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi attended a meeting with the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. The meeting, which took place on Tuesday (20/02/2024) in Doha, Qatar, was to discuss latest developments in Afghanistan.

"Currently I am in Doha attending the UN Secretary General's invitation to discuss developments in Afghanistan," said Foreign Minister Retno on the ministry's official website on Tuesday.


The meeting also discussed the follow-up to the independent assessment mandated by the UN Security Council (UNSC) to the UN Secretary-General. The assessment, which is based on Resolution 2679 (2023), was previously submitted to the UNSC on November 9. Apart from Indonesia, countries that have been active in the Afghanistan issue were also present, including countries that directly border Afghanistan.


"From ASEAN, only Indonesia (that present). From Asia, there are several other countries such as China, Japan, India, Pakistan, and also countries bordering Afghanistan," said Retno.


During the meeting, the Foreign Minister said that Indonesia welcomed the UN Secretary General's report. Indonesia also noted reports on the situation of Afghan women's rights from a number of UN institutions and the Taliban authority response to these reports.


"...From the Taliban's report and response, there is a fairly wide gap between what the international community and other stakeholders expect and what the Taliban is currently doing. Thus, the main challenge is how to bridge this gap," she said.


Retno said that Indonesia suggested that women's issues should be one of the priorities in international community meetings with the Taliban. On this issue, Retno said the UN needed to continue to coordinate with the OIC. He also said that Indonesia agreed with the UN Secretary General's recommendation to send a special envoy to Afghanistan, as long as he could work well.


"In principle, Indonesia agrees with the UN Secretary General's recommendation regarding the appointment of the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for the Afghanistan issue. What needs to be ensured is that the Special Envoy can work and deliver," the Minister of Foreign Affairs continued.


Foreign Minister Retno also raised Indonesia's role in helping Afghan women at the meeting. This assistance includes providing scholarships, financial literacy, and discussions to develop the madrasa curriculum. Indonesia has also donated 10 million doses of polio vaccine, mobile clinics, ambulances, and medicines to Afghanistan.


Besides meeting the UN Secretary-General, Foreign Minister Retno also met leaders and special envoys from some countries in Doha. From Doha, Retno will fly to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting.

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