Friday, 22, June, 2018

Russia supports Uzbekistan's initiative to hold an international conference on Afghanistan in March entitled "Peace Process: Security and Regional Cooperation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced on Friday following the talks with his Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov, Tass reports.

Russia, China, the United States and some other countries have received invitations to attend the international conference on peace and security in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov said on Friday after talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

"As for those who have already received invitations, we proceeded from an assumption that there are actual players that are rather deeply involved in this process and that could have considerable influence on the further unfolding of events," Kamilov said.

"Therefore, we made a decision to invite Russia, China and the United States at a global level and Pakistan, Iran and India at a regional level," he said.

"Also, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey received invitations along with the United Nations and the European Union as international organizations and some European states that had been willing to attend. They are the UK, Germany, France and Italy," the foreign minister said.

"Unconditionally, taking into consideration the fact that we are located the same region, all Central Asian states will be attending," he added. "The conference will be held at the level of foreign ministers."

Kamilov pointed out that Tashkent did not intend to either just hold a one-off event or to provide a venue for talks.

"Uzbekistan is set to become an active part of the political process as we share a border [with Afghanistan] and we are directly concerned," Kamilov said. "We will be doing our best to make our own contribution to the advent of that political process."

"We are under no illusions [about the outcome of the conference]. We do not think that a peace process will set in [in Afghanistan] right after Tashkent [talks] and everything will be solved," he said. "Nevertheless, something needs to be done and this process should be launched sometime".

"The idea of holding the forum was put forward by our Uzbek friends at a special session of the United Nations Security Council in January. Today we have been discussing preparations for that milestone and major event," Lavrov said.

"Besides, we pointed out that all current formats need to be mobilized to push for the solution to the Afghan crisis," he added. "Among them are so-called Moscow format and the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group [Shanghai Cooperation Organization plus Afghanistan]."

The Russian top diplomat pointed out that "Afghanistan is a thorn in the side for both our countries and other regional nations, and what is more, not only inside the region but also beyond."

"We are concerned how the presence of the so-called Islamic State (terrorist group outlawed in Russia) is being increased, especially in Afghanistan’s northern areas bordering the CIS countries (an assembly of post-Soviet states - TASS)," Lavrov added. "A network of militant training camps is being arranged there. Unfortunately, among them are natives of our countries.".

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