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US peace envoy may visit Russia in December to discuss Afghan peace process

US peace envoy may visit Russia in December to discuss Afghan peace process

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Nov 13, 2018 - 14:08

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok):  Special Representative for Afghanistaninfo-icon Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad could visit Moscow in early December to discuss bringing a durable peace to Afghanistan, a media report said on Tuesday.

Khalilzad is currently traveling to Afghanistan, Pakistaninfo-icon, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar with an interagency delegation, Xinhua quoted the Russian government officials as saying.

During the tour on Nov. 8-20, he is to meet with Afghan government officials and other interested parties "to advance the goal of an intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations that include the Talibaninfo-icon and lead to a sustainable peace," according to a U.S. State Department statement.

Special Representative of the Russian President for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said Khalilzad suggested the beginning of December for the Moscow trip.

On Friday, the second meeting of the Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan was held in the Russian capital with the participation of deputy foreign ministers, special representatives and observers from Russia, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the United States.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani sent a delegation to the meeting and the Political Office of the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha also participated.

"It's a fact that representatives of the opposing sides were in the same room and were ready to talk to each other, which is the first step towards full-length talks in Afghanistan," Kabulov said.

The Taliban agreed to talk with the Afghan government only after reaching an agreement with the United States on a schedule for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan, Kabulov said.

They also demanded the release of all political prisoners and the abolition of anti-Taliban sanctions imposed against them in 1997 "as a preliminary measure of confidence," he said.

The Taliban expressed their readiness to take part in the next meeting of the Moscow format of consultations, Kabulov said, without specifying when such a meeting may take place.

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