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Atmar to Visit Moscow to Muster Support for Afghan Peace Process

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KABUL: Foreign Minister, Hanif Atmar is scheduled to travel to the Russian capital of Moscow today (Wednesday) with the aim of attracting regional consensus on the Afghan peace efforts.

“The ministry of foreign affairs will chair a delegation in Moscow visit where he is to meet Russia’s high-level officials including the country’s foreign minister. The meetings would discuss such as peace process, regional consensus, joint counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and organized crimes,” Bari Salam, an adviser for Atmar said Tuesday.

Atmar is planned to stay in Russia for four days, according to foreign ministry.

Moscow hosted a delegation from Taliban in the past few weeks who talked to Russian officials about the situation after the US presence in Afghanistan. Zamir Kabulov, Vladimir Putin’s Envoy for Afghanistan, said last week that he would support a transitional-coalition administration in Afghanistan. His statement was followed by reactions from Afghan government.

Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry’s Spokeswoman, also said that her country wanted a political settlement to end the crisis in Afghanistan.

“We expect that the meetings discuss bilateral relations including economic and trade, as well as a peaceful solution to Afghanistan’s crisis and threats before counter-terrorism and narcotics,” said Zakharova. “Russia urges national reconciliation in Afghanistan and the end of armed wars. We have always raised voice to have a peaceful, independent and impartial Afghanistan, a country free of terrorism and narcotics and enjoying good relations with the neighbors, the region and the entire world.”

But political analysts believe that Atmar’s visit to Moscow would not be very beneficial.

“The Afghan foreign minister was in Moscow when talks were focusing on the interim administration among Afghans. His today’s visit takes place after Zamir Kabulov’s trip to Pakistan where he has already shared the details of this visit with Pakistani officials. I don’t think Atmar’s visit be useful,” said Farooq Farda, aLondon-based political expert who had lived in Russia for long time.

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