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Uzbekistan expresses readiness to host intra-Afghan peace talks with Taliban

AT-KABUL: In the wake of current peace talks in Moscow, the government of Uzbekistan has reiterated its readiness to host talks between Afghan government officials and Taliban negotiators.

Uzbekistan’s Foreign Ministry says Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov expressed the offer in Tashkent on Tuesday to the United Nations’ Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto.

The ministry quoted Kamilov as saying Uzbekistan is prepared to provide all necessary conditions for direct talks between the government of Afghanistan and Taliban negotiators to be organized “at any stage” of an Afghan peace process.

Uzbekistan started actively promoting regional cooperation after President Shavkat Mirziyoev took over power following the death of his predecessor Islam Karimov in 2016.

On Tuesday, Afghan politicians, representatives of political parties and 10-member of Taliban delegation came under one roof in Moscow for two-day peace talks—an initiative where Kabul administration has severely opposed, saying it would not help the current peace talks brokered by US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad.

Khalilzad, who sit in talks with Taliban for six consecutive days in Qatar, said they reached agreement in principle; returning Afghanistan to brief Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the progress made on peace talks.

Opening the talks, former president Hamid Karzai said he hopes Pakistan and Afghanistan can forge good relations going forward and that the Moscow talks will end on a positive note.

Karzai said a democratic and free Afghanistan can be achieved if there is unity among the people. He also welcomed US’s efforts for peace.

However, Taliban’s chief negotiator Abbas Stanakzai said the group does not consider the current Afghan Constitution “legitimate” and that this blueprint was an obstacle to peace.  

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