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Aug 29, 2018
Moscow talks delay a victory for Afghan diplomacy
(Pajhwok): Political experts on Tuesday termed as “a positive step” and “a victory for Afghan diplomacy” the postponement of the Sept 4 Moscow conference on Afghanistan.
Russia agreed to postpone the planned multilateral Afghan peace talks in Moscow that were to include the Taliban following a request by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
Russia had invited 12 countries and the Taliban to Moscow for the talks on Sept. 4.
But though the Taliban had accepted the invitation, the Kabul government turned it down on the grounds that peace talks with the insurgent group must be led by Afghanistan.
Experts praised the Afghan government’s diplomatic approach after Russia’s foreign minister telephoned President Ashraf Ghani and informed him about the postponement of the huddle in Moscow.
Naseer Ahmad Andesh, deputy foreign affairs minister, told reporters in Kabul that the agenda and exact time of the conference had not been shared with the Afghan government.
He asked the major world powers to mount pressure on the Taliban to enter direct talks with the Afghan government.
Political experts welcomed the move to postpone the Moscow Conference as a sign of greater coordination with the Afghan government.
Mushtaq Rahimi said now the Afghan government would have time and space to make proper preparations for the conference.
He said the Russians during the second Kabul Process Conference had pledged to support an Afghan led and owned talks.
Another political expert Entezar Khadem said Russia wanted to conduct the conference in order to please the Afghan government.
He said if the Moscow Conference had taken place with the Taliban in attendance and the Afghan government absent, it would have strengthened the impression that Russia enjoyed ties with the Taliban.
He, however, criticized the Afghan government for declining the invitation despite claims it was prepared to hold talks with the Taliban anywhere.
Another expert Numan Dost said earlier it was believed that the Afghan government would not be given importance in the Moscow conference.
But the recent telephonic conversation between Kabul and Moscow and the delay of the conference proved the earlier thinking wrong, said Dost.
Europe-based Afghan journalist Sami Yousufzai said the Moscow meeting was an ordinary huddle and was not really peace-specific.
Yesterday, a statement from the Presidential Palace said Kabul and Moscow had agreed to jointly host the conference in Moscow.
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