20 Oct 2021 20:49

Moscow-format negotiators call for interaction with Afghanistan irrespective of Taliban's official recognition - statement

MOSCOW. Oct 20 (Interfax) - Participants in the international meeting on Afghanistan have called for establishing practical interaction with the country irrespective of the official recognition of the Taliban (banned in Russia), a joint statement released following the Moscow-format consultations in the Russian capital on Wednesday said.

"It was stated that further practical engagement with Afghanistan needed to take into account the new reality, that is the Taliban coming to power in the country, irrespective of the official recognition of the new Afghan government by the international community," a statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry website said.

The participating countries of the Moscow-format consultations "call on the current Afghan leadership to take further steps to improve governance and to form a truly inclusive government that adequately reflects the interests of all major ethno-political forces in the country. This will be a fundamental prerequisite for the completion of the national reconciliation process in Afghanistan," the document said.

"Being concerned about the activities of proscribed terrorist organizations in Afghanistan, the sides reaffirmed their willingness to continue to promote security in Afghanistan to contribute to regional stability," it said.

"Expressing deep concern over the deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the sides expressed confidence in the need for the international community to mobilize consolidated efforts to provide urgent humanitarian and economic assistance to the Afghan people in the post-conflict reconstruction of the country," the joint statement said.

"In this context, the sides have proposed to launch a collective initiative to convene a broad-based international donor conference under the auspices of the United Nations as soon as possible, certainly with the understanding that the core burden of post-conflict economic and financial reconstruction and development of Afghanistan must be shouldered by troop-based actors which were in the country for the past 20 years," it said.

At the same time, the participating countries in the Moscow-format talks "call on the current Afghan leadership to practice moderate and sound internal and external policies, adopt friendly policies towards neighbors of Afghanistan, achieve the shared goals of durable peace, security, safety, and long-term prosperity, and respect the rights of ethnic groups, women and children."

"The sides reiterated their respect to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, and reaffirmed their commitment to Afghanistan as a peaceful, indivisible, independent, economically developing State, free of terrorism and drug-related crime and respecting the basic norms in the human rights area," the statement said.

On Wednesday, the third meeting of the Moscow-format consultations was held with the participation of special representatives or senior officials from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as a high-level delegation of the interim Afghan government formed by the Taliban.

An invitation to the meeting was also sent to Washington, but the United States Department of State said on Monday that they would not be able to take part in the meeting because "it's just logistically difficult" for Washington to take part this week. This format of discussions "has been an effective, a constructive forum," and the U.S. looks forward to engaging in this forum in the future, the U.S. State Department said.