EU Pledge Opens G20 Virtual Summit On Afghanistan

International Business Times 

G20 leaders gathered Tuesday for a virtual summit focused on addressing the looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, with the EU kicking off proceedings by announcing a one-billion-euro ($1.2-billion-euro) aid package. US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were among those dialling in to the meeting hosted by Italy, although Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin sent representatives. As the talks started, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen announced an aid package to help "avert a major humanitarian and socio-economic collapse" in Afghanistan. The money adds 250 million euros to a 300-million-euro sum previously announced by the EU for urgent humanitarian needs, with the remainder going to Afghanistan's neighbouring countries taking in Afghans fleeing the Taliban, a statement said. It stressed that the EU funds are "direct support" for Afghans and would be channelled to international organisations working on the ground, not to the Taliban's interim government which Brussels does not recognise.

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