US, Russia to work together for Afghan peace
“We noted that it serves our mutual interest to make sure that this country poses less serious threat in terms of terrorism, organised crime, drug industry,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters at a news conference in Washington.
The press briefing came after Lavrov held talks, lasting five hours, with top US officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu was also present at these meetings that mainly conferred on Afghanistan.
“US colleagues thanked us for supporting their efforts and for agreement on transit between Russia and US came into effect -- over 3,400 transit flights took place, and over 300,000 U.S. troops were transported, which speaks for itself,” Lavrov said.
“We need to continue cooperation in the field, especially in light of the forthcoming 2014 withdrawal of the American contingent and the elections. To political settlement, we need to find format that would allow Afghanis to decide on their own future and make sure that they live in a country where all minorities would live in comfort and safely,” he said.
Shoygu said the two countries during their day-long meetings discussed a number of issues related to post-2014 Afghanistan.
“We spoke about preparations for withdrawal and future prospects. I told my colleague that we have certain concerns (about Afghanistan’s neighbours), namely Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, they have concerns, and they're trying to take certain steps to guarantee their own security,” he said.
Shoygu said he briefed them about the Soviet experience of troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, about training for Afghan military and police.
Later talking to reporters, a senior US administration official said that the US delegation expressed appreciation for the support that Russia had provided, whether through the Northern Distribution Network or the assistance to Afghan National Security Forces.
“Both delegations agreed on the importance of sustained support for Afghanistan’s security, as well as political and economic transition, and agreed that combating narcotics was an area that we should look at and how we can better help the Government of Afghanistan in this area as well,” the official said.
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