MOSCOW HOSTS TALKS BETWEEN MILITANTS AND AFGHAN ENVOYS
MOSCOW Sitting between Afghan envoys and their fierce rivals from the Taliban movement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday promised to work for a united and peaceful Afghanistan, showcasing his country’s return to the diplomatic forefront of the 17-year war.
Bringing both sides of the Afghan conflict to Moscow is a major success for Russia.
Russia’s unprecedented hosting of the peace conference almost 30 years after it pulled out of Afghanistan comes after efforts of the United States and others repeatedly failed to stem the constant fighting.
“Russia stands for preserving the one and undivided Afghanistan, in which all of the ethnic groups that inhabit this country would live side by side peacefully and happily,” Lavrov said, sitting between a fiveman Taliban delegation and four members of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, a governmentappointed body charged with overseeing the peace process.
The Moscow meeting was attended by representatives of 11 countries, including regional heavyweights China, Iran and Pakistan.
Ahead of the meeting, the Taliban statement described the gathering as a forum to lay out its demands for a peace process, including its objections to the presence of U.S. and other foreign military forces in the country. A representative from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow will attend, but only as an observer.
BY· AMIE FERRISROTMAN (C) 2018, THE WASHINGTON POST NOV 09, 2018 -
Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov speaks as he attends a conference on Afghanistan bringing together representatives of the Afghan authorities and the Taliban in Moscow (Washington Post.com)