27 Feb 2018 10:45

Kabul's settlement 'roadmap' causes skepticism because of Taliban's lack of readiness for dialogue - Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. Feb 27 (Interfax) - Moscow is skeptical about a Kabul-proposed 'roadmap' for settling the crisis in the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry's Second Asian Department director and the Russian president's special envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, said.

"The so-called 'roadmap' for national reconciliation recently proposed by the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is aimed at reaching accord with the part of the Taliban group with which it is possible to achieve agreements. Our attitude to this document is quite skeptical: even though it is quite comprehensive and long-term, it lacks the main component, namely the Taliban's readiness to start dialogue," Kabulov said in an interview with Interfax.

"Military pressure on which the U.S. and NATO countries are once again placing their stakes in Afghanistan will only serve to cause a further deterioration of the military-political and humanitarian situation in this country and will only postpone the prospect of dialogue between Kabul and the Taliban movement," he said.

When asked what role the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) could play in the Afghan settlement process, Kabulov said, "I do not rule out that in the future CSTO member states in the organization's format may take an active part in international efforts aimed at restoring peace in Afghanistan as a party that is directly interested in seeing this issue solved because the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is situated near the borders of the CSTO zone of engagement."

Russia "certainly sees the experience of interaction accumulated by the CSTO as relevant" to such efforts, he said.

"At present, the majority of the organization's member states are involved in efforts to look for ways to help stabilize the situation in Afghanistan within the framework of the Moscow format of consultations on the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and also the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization]-Afghanistan Contact Group, which resumed its work in October 2017," Kabulov said.

"The CSTO is among the organizations that support the Istanbul process on Afghanistan, and its representatives regularly attend ministerial conferences as part of the Istanbul process," he said.