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India To Attend Moscow Meeting At ‘Non-Official Level’

09 Nov 2018 Tolo News

India on Thursday said it will participate in Moscow meeting on Afghanistan at a “non-official level”, Indian media reported. 

The Moscow meeting on Afghanistan will be held on 9 November. 

“We are aware that the Russian Federation is hosting a meeting in Moscow on 9 November on Afghanistan. Our participation at the meeting will be at the non-official level,” said Raveesh Kumar, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs as he addressed reporters in New Delhi on Thursday. 

He said India supports all efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability and prosperity to the country.

“India’s consistent policy has been that such efforts should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled and with participation of the government of Afghanistan,” Kumar said.

This comes after US State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino on Wednesday night confirmed the US embassy in Moscow would send a representative to Friday’s meeting in the Russian capital on Afghanistan. 

He said this decision had been taken in close coordination with the Afghan government.

The long-awaited meeting, organized by Moscow, is expected to take place in the Russian capital on Friday, and will reportedly look at ways to find peace in Afghanistan. 

This week the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said the Afghan government would not be sending a delegation to the summit but a High Peace Council (HPC) official said they would attend the meeting in an independent capacity.

The HPC officials said they would send a delegation, led by Hajji Deen Mohammad, the deputy head of the peace council but that no talks would be held with the Taliban.

There are reports that Russia has also invited some of Afghanistan’s mainstream politicians to the summit.

According to Reuters, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai and CEO of Jamiat-e-Islami party of Afghanistan, Attar Mohammad Noor, have accepted the invitation.

On Tuesday, the Taliban also confirmed it would send a delegation to the meeting. 

Originally the meeting was scheduled for September 4 in Moscow, but Afghanistan refused to attend citing that any such discussions should be Afghan-led. 

In August, the Afghan government announced that Afghanistan and Russia would co-chair proposed future talks in Moscow on Afghanistan’s peace.

Delegations from twelve countries have reportedly been invited including the delegation from Taliban’s political office in Qatar.

In a statement issued this week by the Taliban, the group said: “Taliban political envoys will attend the meeting but the participation does not mean they will hold talks with anyone. This is a meeting to debate the current situation in Afghanistan.” 

“The meeting will discuss the end of American invasion, identify problems and deliberate on regional peace,” their statement read.

Russian media meanwhile said the Russian Foreign Ministry had sent invitations to Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, the US and other countries.

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