Italy still hopes for G20 summit on Afghanistan, Draghi says

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FILE PHOTO: Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi gestures as he speaks at a news conference where he is expected to map out the country's next moves in loosening coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Rome, Italy, April 16

ROME (Reuters) -Italy still hopes to hold an ad hoc summit of the Group of 20 major economies on Afghanistan, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Thursday, adding no nation had yet laid out a strategy on how to deal with the Taliban.

Italy, which holds the rotating G20 presidency this year, has previously signalled it was looking to call a one-off G20 meeting for the middle of this month.

Draghi said he would discuss the crisis with French President Emmanuel Macron later on Thursday and with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week. But any G20 meeting would not be held until after this month's United Nations assembly, which ends on Sept. 30, he said.

"Nobody can claim to have a clear strategy at this stage ... nobody has a road map," Draghi told a news conference.

The former European Central Bank chief said European Union countries had to do a better job on confronting migration issues and criticized those member states that were refusing to take in more Afghan refugees.

"The European Union ... is still unable to manage such crises ... some countries already said they don't want any Afghans. How can you do that?" Draghi said.

Austria, where more than 40,000 Afghan refugees already live, has made clear it will not accept any more people and Hungary - a traditional hardliner on immigration - has rejected any plans to accommodate large numbers.

Underscoring Italy's determination to make diplomatic headway on the Afghan crisis, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio announced he will depart on Friday for a trip to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Qatar and Pakistan.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer and Angelo Amante in RomeEditing by Angus MacSwan and Matthew Lewis)

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