By Elena Teslova
MOSCOW (AA) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called for necessary practical steps to launch a process of national reconciliation in Afghanistan as he welcomed Uzbekistan’s initiative to convene a ministerial meeting on an Afghan settlement next spring.
Speaking at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday, Lavrov said: “The situation in Afghanistan requires a comprehensive approach by regional states and the international community as a whole,” according to excerpts of his speech published on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ official website on Saturday.
“The experience of the last 20 years has graphically demonstrated the inefficiency of attempts to resolve Afghan problems by force.
“The adoption of practical steps to launch a process of national reconciliation based on UN Security Council resolutions is on the agenda today.”
He said it was Russia that initiated a dialogue in the Moscow format, resumed the work of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation-Afghanistan contact group and are developing Afghanistan’s partnership with the Collective Security Treaty Organization, in cooperation with our partners and fellow-thinkers.
“We welcome Uzbekistan’s initiative to convene a ministerial meeting on an Afghan settlement next spring.
“We continue helping Kabul train national civilian and law enforcement personnel and enhance the combat ability of the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
“We consistently advocate the start of direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban as soon as possible with a view to ending the fratricidal war, based on UN Security Council-approved criteria,” he added.
He also mentioned that terrorist and drug threats from Afghanistan are mounting and having a destabilizing influence on Central Asia and beyond its borders.
Lavrov also noted that Russia considers that involvement of Afghanistan in the regional economic unions like “One Belt and One Road” or the Eurasian Economic Union would have a positive influence on the settlement in this country.
Before his visit to the UN, the Russian foreign minister offered to organize direct talks between Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban in Russia. Later, Washington declined this proposal.
Meanwhile, Turkey has already hosted an informal session of talks between the Taliban and Afghan officials in Istanbul that was positively evaluated in Kabul.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency, chief adviser to Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, Mohammad Ismaeel Qasimyar, hailed the goodwill of the Turkish people and Ankara government towards Afghanistan.