IRELAND is taking over the presidency of the United Nations (UN) Security Council.

It comes amid the UK and US withdrawal from Afghanistan with the situation there likely to be the focus of a number of meetings.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney has previously said he will use the Irish presidency to increase pressure on the Taliban during talks, demanding Afghan leaders allow humanitarian aid into the country.

The move was supported by SNP Westminster leader MP Ian Blackford who tweeted: "The ability to have an effective voice as an independent country."

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The UN Security Council presidency works on a monthly rotating basis, with Ireland designated the role for September.

The country takes over the position from India who held the role for the month of August.

It will see the country in charge of approving the council's agenda and presiding over meetings.

Ireland also sits on the UN Security Council after being elected by other member states on a two-year term in January.

Permanent members of the council include the UK, the US, France, Russia and China.

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As well as the crisis in Afghanistan, Ireland will deal with issues in Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya with nuclear weapons, climate change and peacekeeping operations also appearing on the agenda.

Ireland's UN ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason is set to hold a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York where she will confirm the country's priorities while filling the role.

RTE reported that a spokesperson for Ireland's UN mission said it has not yet been confirmed whether Irish politicians will travel to the US for UN meetings amid the Covid pandemic.

They said: "We are monitoring the public health situation closely. We hope that political visits will take place in September, including by Minister Simon Coveney and the Taoiseach."