MoFA Welcomes Moscow Meeting’s Agreements

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in a statement on Sunday welcomed the agreements and the consensus reached between the United States, Russia and China at a trilateral meeting in Moscow on April 24-25.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan insists on “enduring and dignified” peace, the statement said.

The statement added that the MoFA sees direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban as a key step towards achieving enduring and dignified peace.

“The people and government of Afghanistan hope that face-to-face talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban happen in the near future and the 40-year crisis will end forever,” the statement concluded.

Fraidoon Khwazoon, a spokesman for Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, said they hope that the Taliban will show a positive sign to the demand of the trilateral meeting and start face-to-face talks with the Afghan government.

Former President Hamid Karzai in a statement welcomed the agreements in the Moscow trilateral meeting and said he hopes that coordination of big powers and their practical steps will help the country to achieve an enduring peace.

“The countries in the region have reached a consensus in this regard and we hope the next meeting will be held in Beijing in the near future,” said Shahzada Massoud, a political analyst.

While the US, Russia and China have agreed on an orderly and responsible withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the Acting Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid said on Saturday that the responsible withdrawal of international forces depends on counterterrorism efforts.

“It is important that how the responsible withdrawal is interpreted. Responsible withdrawal means foreign forces withdrawal after the end of the fight against insurgency and we welcome it. But so far, nothing exists and has been mentioned about foreign forces withdrawal,” Khalid told TOLOnews.

Sources close to the Taliban said the attendants of the trilateral Moscow meeting are trying to not bring the Taliban on power and instead want the group to become part of the next government.

“These three countries came together for the third time and are trying to resolve their concerns regarding possible gain of power by the Taliban. These two countries will convince the US to make the Taliban part of the government,” said Wahid Muzhda, a political analyst familiar with peace talks with the Taliban.

The meeting in Moscow was the second trilateral consultation on Afghanistan in Moscow, in which US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, Chinese Special Envoy Deng Xijun, and Russian Presidential Representative Zamir Kabulov discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and the ongoing peace process.

According to a statement by Russian Federation’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, the three sides agreed on the following matters:

•    The statement reads that the three sides respect the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Afghanistan as well as its right to choose its development path.  The three sides prioritize the interests of the Afghan people in promoting a peace process.

•    The three sides support an inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process and are ready to provide necessary assistance. The three sides encourage the Afghan Taliban to participate in peace talks with a broad, representative Afghan delegation that includes the government as soon as possible. Toward this end, and as agreed in Moscow in February 2019, we support a second round of intra-Afghan dialogue in Doha (Qatar).

•    The three sides support the Afghan government efforts to combat international terrorism and extremist organizations in Afghanistan. They take note of the Afghan Taliban’s commitment to: fight Daesh and cut ties with Al-Qaeda, ETIM, and other international terrorist groups; ensure the areas they control will not be used to threaten any other country; and call on them to prevent terrorist recruiting, training, and fundraising, and expel any known terrorists.

•    The three sides recognize the Afghan people’s strong desire for a comprehensive ceasefire. As a first step, we call on all parties to agree on immediate and concrete steps to reduce violence.

•    The three sides stress the importance of fighting illegal drug production and trafficking, and call on the Afghan government and the Taliban to take all the necessary steps to eliminate the drug threat in Afghanistan.

•    The three sides call for an orderly and responsible withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan as part of the overall peace process.

•    The three sides call for regional countries to support this trilateral consensus and are ready to build a more extensive regional and international consensus on Afghanistan.

•    The three sides agreed on a phased expansion of their consultations before the next trilateral meeting in Beijing. The date and composition of the meeting will be agreed upon through diplomatic channels.

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