Russian Federation hosts talks between Taliban and Afghan peace council

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 9, 2018

"India's consistent policy has been that such efforts should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled, and with the participation of the government of Afghanistan".

"Participation in today's event should become an important contribution to the creation of favourable conditions for the launch of direct talks between the government, the Taliban movement and representatives of the wide range of the country's social and political circles", said the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, speaking during a short public introduction.

While the Moscow meeting isn't likely to yield concrete results, Russia's intervention is taking place as President Donald Trump's administration has stepped up diplomatic activity, twice sending officials to meet with the Taliban in recent months and appointing a veteran envoy to advise on Afghan peace.

India and Russian Federation had resolved to direct their activities towards launching joint development and capacity building projects in Afghanistan.

Moscow on Friday hosted global talks on Afghanistan aimed at kickstarting direct negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban militant group, both of whom sent delegations, AFP reported.

"Our participation at the meeting will be at the non-official level".

"Russia has managed to steal the agenda from the US", said Ruslan Mamedov, program director at the Russian International Affairs Council, a research organization set up by the Kremlin.

"India supports all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability, and prosperity to the country".

The Afghan government and the Taliban both denied that the conference marked direct negotiations for peace.

"The Russian side reaffirms its position that there is no alternative to a political settlement in Afghanistan and neighboring countries, as well as Afghanistan's regional partners, need to actively work and coordinate their efforts in this direction", Zakharova told a weekly news conference in Moscow.

This is the first time that a Taliban delegation is taking part in such high-level global meeting, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday.

Nevertheless, VOA quotes the Trump administration as saying the us will attend in coordination with Kabul.

Mujahid defended the Taliban's participation in Moscow meeting, saying it will not be chaired or co-chaired by the Kabul government unlike previous such global gatherings. "This is a meeting to debate the current situation in Afghanistan". New Delhi has always maintained that it will engage with the elected government of Afghanistan, and participating in the meeting would have given legitimacy to the Taliban. Its representatives won't meet directly with the Taliban officials, he said.

On Wednesday, an unnamed spokesperson for the U.S. State Department reportedly confirmed that, in coordination with Kabul, the U.S. embassy in Moscow "will send a representative to the working level to observe the discussions".

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