World News

India to join talks with Afghan Taliban at 'non-official level'

India to join talks with Afghan Taliban at 'non-official level'

The MEA spokesperson said India will support any effort to continue the peace process consistent with the policy on Afghanistan - which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled and with participation of the Afghanistan government. The first such meeting, proposed for September 4 of this year, was called off at the last moment after the Afghan government pulled out, describing its involvement in the Moscow meeting as "unnecessary" as the Taliban had "disrespected internationally-sanctioned principles and rejected the message of peace and direct negotiations".

The talks, known as the "Moscow format" will include a "high-level" delegation from the Taliban as well as a delegation of Afghanistan's "High Peace Council", along with twelve countries, and will mark the first time an Indian delegation has been present at the table in talks with the Taliban representatives based in Doha.

The Russian foreign ministry had said last week that the Moscow-format meeting on Afghanistan will be held 9 November and representatives of the Afghan Taliban radical movement will take part in it.

The Ghani government said this week it is allowing the delegation of the High Peace Council (HPC) that is designated to further the reconciliation process with the Taliban on the understanding the Moscow format will lead to direct talks with the Taliban.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend a signing ceremony following their meeting on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg on June 1, 2017.

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This is the first time that a Taliban delegation is taking part in such high-level worldwide meeting, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday. A Russian proposal to hold the talks on September 4 had to be cancelled after the U.S. pulled out of them, and the Ghani government opposed them.

"The meeting will discuss the end of American invasion, identify problems and deliberate on regional peace", Mujahid said in a brief statement. This is the first time that a Taliban delegation is taking part in such high-level worldwide meeting.

Russia's Foreign Ministry sent invitations to representatives of 11 countries - Pakistan, Afghanistan, the US, India, Iran, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan for the deputy foreign ministers-level talks.

The Taliban is banned from operating Russian Federation as it is classified as a "terrorist organisation".

"In coordination with the Afghan government, the United States embassy in Moscow will send a representative to the working level to observe the discussions and the United States stands ready to work with all interested parties to support and facilitate a peace process", Palladino said. But this time, it has managed to carefully balance Russian and USA interests, as it is sending the Afghan High Peace Council's representatives, instead of its foreign ministry representatives.


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