India to participate in Friday's Moscow talks with Taliban

Lester Mason
November 9, 2018

"India supports all efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability and prosperity to the country", Kumar said. India will be participating in the Moscow conference but will not be indulging in any direct talks with the Taliban.

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. MEA also announced that PM Narendra Modi will attend the swearing-in ceremony of Maldivian president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih next week.

Opening Friday's meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the participation of both Afghan leaders and the Taliban was an "important contribution" aimed at creating "favourable conditions for the start of direct talks".

Russian Federation has reaffirmed its position that there is no alternative to a political settlement, the need for active coordinated work among the neighboring countries, and agreements with the regional partners of Afghanistan. This is the first time that a Taliban delegation is taking part in such high-level worldwide meeting. After the Afghan government cancelled its participation, India too followed suit on the pretext that it would be untenable for New Delhi's representatives to share the table with a Taliban delegation - when Afghanistan's democratically-elected government would be staying away. "We did not say that", he said, to a question on participation of Taliban in the meeting.

"Concerned with unabated violence, the (two) sides resolved to work through the Moscow Format, SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) Contact Group on Afghanistan, and all other recognised formats for an early resolution to the conflict in Afghanistan", the statement said.

The talks come weeks after newly appointed USA special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, held talks with the Taliban group in Qatar.

"The meeting will discuss the end of the American invasion, identify problems and deliberate on regional peace", Mujahid said in a brief statement.

"We just said that we will be participating in the meeting on Afghanistan which will be hosted with its president Ashraf Ghani", MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a press conference in New Delhi. But this time, it has managed to carefully balance Russian and United States interests, as it is sending the Afghan High Peace Council's representatives, instead of its foreign ministry representatives.

"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".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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