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India will not hold talks with Taliban: MEA

10 November 2018

Only a political settlement, fully cognizant of the socio-cultural, political and economic realities, can restore peace in Afghanistan, said a Pakistan official in a conference here. Pakistan's foreign office has confirmed Islamabad's participation in the talks. "And we made it very clear that our participation at the meeting will be at the non-official level", Mr. Kumar said. "We took a considered decision to attend the meeting at a non-official level", he said.

The US and Taliban did actually engage in direct talks recently, Stanikzai said, hailing it as a positive sign.

The Afghan government and the Taliban both denied that the conference marked direct negotiations for peace.

The worldwide community wants to see a "peaceful, prosperous and independent Afghanistan free of terrorism and drugs", Lavrov said, adding that Russian Federation "is determined to do everything in its power" to help Afghanistan achieve this goal.

"With participation in the meeting, the worldwide status of the Islamic Emirate [the Taliban] will be strengthened even further Such diplomatic efforts of the Islamic Emirate showcase the active, clear and independent diplomacy and policy of the Islamic Emirate in the political field", asserted the insurgent spokesman. India and Russian Federation had resolved to direct their activities towards launching joint development and capacity building projects in Afghanistan.

The US hopes that 60 nations will attend this conference to express their support for Washington's efforts to jump start the Afghan peace process.

"We are determined to make every possible effort to facilitate the opening of a new page in the history of Afghanistan", Lavrov was quoted saying by the state-run Tass news agency. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, its aim is to establish a wide inter-Afghan dialogue aimed at promoting national reconciliation, and defeating the threat of the Islamic State group to the countries of the region.

The Moscow meeting on Friday will be the first time since 2001 that Indian representatives, in this case former Indian ambassador to Afghanistan Amar Sinha and head of the government-funded Indian Council of World Affairs think tank T. C. A. Raghavan, will be sitting at the same table as the Taliban.

"If any process is consistent with our policy on Afghanistan then we will be part of it and our policy on Afghanistan is that we will be supporting any efforts which will help in usher peace in the region", he said.

At the same time, he said Afghanistan should not be used for "geopolitical games" and stressed the importance of preserving territorial integrity of the country.

"Russia supports the preservation of a united and indivisible Afghanistan in which all ethnic groups populating the country could live peacefully and happily".

"We welcome Indian as well as other respected countries' participation in the Moscow format talks".

The Taliban have refused to talk directly with Ghani's government, which they consider an illegitimate foreign-imposed regime but said: "We are ready for face-to-face negotiations with the Americans and to discuss relevant issues with them".

India will not hold talks with Taliban: MEA