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US to send representative to Moscow meeting on Afghanistan

ANI | Updated: Nov 09, 2018 02:57 IST

Kabul [Afghanistan], Nov 9 (ANI): The United States Embassy in Moscow will send a representative to a meeting in the city on Afghanistan, State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino said.
He added that the agreement was reached following a consensus with the Afghan government, TOLOnews reported.
The much-anticipated meeting, organised by Russia, is slated to take place in Moscow on Friday, where deliberations are expected to be held on the peace process in Afghanistan.
"The United States believes that all countries should support direct dialogue between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to reach an end to the war and we have been clear that no government, including Russia, can be a substitute for the Afghan government in direct negotiations with the Taliban," Palladino said.
"In coordination with the Afghan government, the United States embassy in Moscow will send a representative to the working level to observe the discussions and the United States stands ready to work with all interested parties to support and facilitate a peace process," he added.
Earlier this week, Afghanistan's foreign ministry had said that the Afghan government would not be sending a delegation to the meeting in Moscow. However, a High Peace Council (HPC) official had said that the delegation would attend the meet in an independent capacity, as per the TOLOnews report.
"This time, only a group has been invited, therefore we are not going to participate in it, but our agreement with the Russians is that this meeting should lead to direct talks between us (Afghan government) and the Taliban, if it does not happen like this, then this will reflect the intention of the Taliban and this means they (Taliban) are not prepared for peace," Sibghat Ahmadi, Afghanistan's foreign ministry spokesperson, said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Taliban group had confirmed that they would send a delegation to the meeting in Moscow.
Officials of the HPC had stated that a delegation, led by Hajji Deen Mohammad, the deputy head of the peace council would participate in the meeting, but added that no talks would be held with the Taliban.
"A delegation from the HPC, under the leadership of the deputy head of the council Hajji Deen Mohammad will attend the Moscow peace meeting on Afghanistan, the main agenda of the meeting will be the start of direct peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the armed Afghan Taliban. This will be assessed at the conference, we hope to convey good news to the people of Afghanistan about direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the near future," Sayed Ehsan Tahiri, HPC spokesperson said.
The meeting was scheduled to be held on September 4 in Moscow. But the Afghan government had backed out from the meet saying that such deliberations should be Afghan-led.
In August, the Afghan leadership had announced that the proposed talks on Afghanistan's peace would be co-chaired by Kabul and Moscow. (ANI)