MOSCOW, ( Asia Free Press): Pakistan proposed in Moscow format talks over Afghanistan to engage with the new Afghan government and de-freeze its assets to save the country’s economy.
Speaking at the conference, Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan, Mohammad Sadiq, suggested three broad contours of engagement with Afghanistan.
“Extending urgent humanitarian support to Afghanistan. To remain economically engaged to evert financial melt-down: de-freezing of Afghanistan’s foreign assets is critical in this context,” he tweeted.
“Enhance cooperation to address common challenges, such as combatting terrorism, trans-national crime, and border management.”
He stressed that while pursuing these objectives, all countries of the conference must emphasise shared views of respecting Afghanistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-use of Afghan soil against any other country, and facilitation of transit trade.
He urged the international community too must not abandon Afghanistan at this critical juncture.
“Our collective voice should reinforce our message of a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan,” he added.
Representatives of 10 countries and the Taliban on Wednesday gathered in the Russian capital to discuss the recent developments and the future of Afghanistan.
Opening the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the Moscow format one of “the most demanded” mechanisms on the Afghan settlement, according to Anadolu Agency.
He regretted the absence of a US representative in the session and said he hoped it was not because of “some principle problems.”
“We regret about the non-participation of our American colleagues … I hope it does not connect to some principle problems and probably one of the reasons is the change of the US special representative for Afghanistan,” AA quoted Lavrov as saying.
He said he expects the US to express its readiness to cooperate on the Afghan issue and join in the finalized steps after the meeting.
The Russian diplomat said their goal is to achieve sustainable peace in Afghanistan, and forming an inclusive government is “the key to success.”
He said the absence of international recognition of the Taliban, social and economic problems and humanitarian challenges have contributed to the unstable situation in Afghanistan, which can be exploited by terrorist and criminal groups.
He said this could have spillover effects for neighboring countries, adding that he spoke with the Taliban about not letting to use Afghan soil against its Central Asian neighbors.
“We are satisfied with the level of practical interaction with the Afghan authorities, which allows at the current stage to resolve the problems of providing security to Russian citizens living in Afghanistan, unhindered functioning of our embassy in Kabul, as well as the embassies of other countries,” he said.
He thanked the Taliban for assistance in organizing the evacuation of Russian citizens and ensuring the necessary conditions for Russian journalists to conduct their duties in Afghanistan.
The time has come for the international community to provide Afghanistan considerable financial, economic and humanitarian assistance to avoid a humanitarian crisis and a new wave of emigration, he said.
Besides Russia, representatives of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Iran, Pakistan, China, Turkmenistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan are participating in the meeting. They are expected to adopt a joint statement after the session.