US says it will send a representative to Moscow meeting on Afghanistan

KABUL (TCA) — US State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino on November 7 confirmed the US embassy in Moscow would send a representative to the November 9 meeting in the Russian capital on Afghanistan, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reports.

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

“The United States believes that all countries should support direct dialogue between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to reach an end to the war and we have been clear that no government, including Russia, can be a substitute for the Afghan government in direct negotiations with the Taliban.

“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.

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 said the Afghan government would not be sending a delegation to the Moscow meeting but a High Peace Council (HPC) official said they would attend the meeting in an independent capacity.

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.

“A delegation from the HPC, under the leadership of the deputy head of the council Hajji Deen Mohammad will attend the Moscow peace meeting on Afghanistan, the main agenda of the meeting will be the start of direct peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the armed Afghan Taliban. This will be assessed at the conference, we hope to convey good news to the people of Afghanistan about direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the near future,” said HPC spokesman Sayed Ehsan Tahiri.

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.

Russian media said the Russian Foreign Ministry had sent invitations to Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, the US and Central Asian countries to attend the meeting.

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Times of Central Asia