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Moscow conference on Afghanistan kicks off in Moscow

09 Nov 2018 TRT World

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expresses hope that Moscow's efforts could help pave the way for peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

The second round of the Moscow format consultations on Afghanistan kicked off on Friday in the Russian capital.

Notably, the meeting marks the first time the Taliban and Afghan government meet for direct talks at a high level. The conference is being held at the level of deputy foreign ministers and related special representatives.

Addressing participants at the conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the meeting is meant to seek paths to national reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Russia's first attempt to hold the conference in September fell through after the Afghan authorities refused to attend. 

This time, the Afghan government hasn't sent its envoys, but members of the government-appointed Peace Council are attending the event.

Before the meeting, Habiba Sarabi, a member of the High Peace Council, said the delegation came to Moscow to talk to the Taliban.

"Our expectations are to talk to the members at this meeting," she said.

"We came here for a political solution. We appreciate the efforts of any country that tries to contribute to Afghan peace," she added.

Taliban officials and Peace Council members have met at past forums elsewhere, and while no formal talks were ever held they have had some face-to face discussions.

The conference marks Moscow's attempt to get the Afghan authorities and the Taliban together at a table. The US Embassy in Moscow has sent a diplomat to observe the discussions.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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