18 May 2020 20:03

Russia holds Afghanistan consultations with China, Iran, Pakistan by video link - Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. May 18 (Interfax) - Russia, China, Iran, and Pakistan are hopeful that the signing of an agreement between Afghanistan's two key political leaders Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani will give impetus to the soonest possible launch of intra-Afghan talks, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"They welcome the signing of the agreement between the two main political leaders and express hope that this important event will expedite the start of intra-Afghan talks," the special envoys of these four countries said in a joint statement, which was published on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website following their consultations by video link on Monday.

The parties also "focused on the developments caused by the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan" and called for an "orderly and responsible pullout of foreign troops with the aim of ensuring seamless changes of the situation in Afghanistan," they said in the statement.

The special representatives also supported "the release of prisoners and detained people by all sides in the Afghan conflict" and expressed concern over "the gravity of the terrorist threat in Afghanistan, calling on all Afghan sides to take resolute measures to crack down on international terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda and ISIL [both banned in Russia], that act against regional states, as well as measures to fully eradicate the production and smuggling of drugs in the country."

In addition, the participants in the videoconference expressed "support for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres's initiative regarding a comprehensive ceasefire, and call for such a comprehensive ceasefire to be simultaneously announced all over Afghanistan in accordance with the agreement of the conflicting parties."