KABUL (SW) – The US and Russia have welcomed readiness of Taliban and the Afghan government for the intra-Afghan peace talks, an official statement said.
The foreign ministry said pursuant to the Afghan Government’s efforts at strengthening regional and international consensus in support of the peace process with a focus on an early start of the intra-Afghan negotiations, the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Haneef Atmar, convened a trilateral meeting of Afghanistan, Russia and the United States via video tele-conference on Monday.
It said Ambassador Zamir Kabulov, the Special Presidential Envoy of the Russian Federation for Afghanistan and Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the Special Representative of the United States for Afghanistan Reconciliation, led their respective delegations at the meeting.
The three countries, reiterating their strong commitment to an Afghan-owned peace process and support for safeguarding Afghanistan’s achievements over the past 19 years, agreed as follows:
1. The Russian and the US Governments welcome the Afghan Government’s commitment and progress towards releasing of the Taliban prisoners as a necessary step towards early start of the intra-Afghan negotiations. The parties call on the Taliban to reciprocate the Afghan Government’s move by releasing all Afghan Government prisoners held by them consistent with their commitment in the Doha Agreement.
2. Recognising the importance of ensuring a positive atmosphere for the impending negotiations, the parties call for a significant reduction in violence as a confidence building measure. The Afghan Government’s proposal concerning the establishment of a monitoring mechanism for compliance with ‘Reduction in Violence (RiV) measures and to ensure mutual accountability overall through the peace process is a positive contribution.
3. The parties welcome the readiness of both sides to the intra-Afghan negotiations for an early start of the negotiations and expect that an initial meeting between the negotiating teams must be held immediately to agree on agenda and next steps. Consistent with the Doha Agreement, the parties expect that achieving a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire will be included in the agenda of the intra-Afghan negotiations at the outset.
4. The parties agree on the importance of regional and international cooperation as key to sustaining the intra-Afghan negotiations and ultimately to the success of the peace process. In this context, the parties call for further consultations through existing or new inclusive regional and international mechanisms aimed at further strengthening regional and international consensus in support of the peace process.
5. The parties agree to meet again in this Trilateral format to discuss the progress made in the intra-Afghan negotiation process. Schedule and details of the next meeting are to be determined through diplomatic channels.