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Russia views Afghanistan as close country: FM

MOSCOW:  Russia regards Afghanistan as a close country, the two countries’ peoples have friendly feelings towards each other, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday at a meeting with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

“We are glad to welcome you in Moscow again. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that we want you to continue to be our friend in any capacity,” Lavrov said. “We are glad to have an opportunity to hear your views on developments in Afghanistan.”

“Afghanistan is a country that is very close to us, our peoples have friendly feelings towards each other,” he went on to say. “Bygones will be bygones, but friendship lingers on, including in difficult times.”

“I look forward to a useful conversation,” the minister added.

Karzai thanked him for the reception, adding jokingly that the attitude towards him in Russia has improved after his resignation. “That’s a disputable statement,” Lavrov retorted smiling.

“I would like to express my views on what is happening and will happen in Afghanistan,” the former president said. “I intend to discuss ways of resolving the situation and what contribution Russia can make in this matter.”

Karzai noted that Afghanistan would like Russia to remain a powerful and friendly country.

“We will not disappoint you,” Russia’s top diplomat replied.—(TASS)

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