Russia signals not ready to let Afghanistan’s Taliban into U.N.

Moscow (Reuters) – No-one is in a hurry to recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan’s government, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Friday, signaling that Moscow is not ready to allow the Islamists to represent Afghanistan at the United Nations.

He also said U.N. and unilateral sanctions on Taliban leaders would have to addressed but “perhaps not right away.”

“The question of recognition will arise when the international community makes sure that the promises and commitments that the authorities announced will be delivered,” Nebenzia told reporters.

He was referring to Taliban pledges – made since group ousted the Western-backed government in mid-August – that included upholding human rights, particularly those of women and girls, and combating terrorism and drugs.

The United Nations is considering rival claims on who should represent Afghanistan. The Taliban nominated their Doha-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen as U.N. ambassador, while Ghulam Isaczai – the U.N. envoy representing the government ousted by the Taliban – is seeking to remain in the country’s seat.

“When credentials are presented, they are presented on behalf of the head of a state,” Nebenzia said. “If it’s presented on behalf of a (head of) state which nobody recognizes then make your conclusions yourself.”

A nine-member U.N. credentials committee, which includes Russia, China and the United States, is due to consider the rival Afghan claims next month and decision will likely be made before the end of the year.