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PublishDate: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 12:12

Tashkent Calls On Taliban To Embrace Peace Offer

AVA- On Tuesday, delegates from 23 countries and two organizations adopted a seven-page, 24 item, declaration pledging support to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
The conference was opened by President Ashraf Ghani and his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev and attended by Foreign Ministers of Russia, all Central Asian republics, Pakistan, deputy ministers of Iran, China, India and the US and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and senior diplomats from the UK, Germany, UAE, Qatar among others.
Key points in the declaration included regional cooperation on fighting terrorism, eradicating drug production and smuggling and ensuring all security assistance to Afghanistan be provided through the Afghan government only.
In response, the secular northern neighbor to Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, extended a rare but welcome invitation – to host a regional summit as a follow up to the Kabul Process meeting.
The last time Tashkent hosted a conference about peace in Afghanistan was the 6+2 Contact Group’s meeting in July 1999.
This week’s initiative, at the behest of Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, resulted in a major show of support for Afghanistan in its fight against terrorism and as  Thomas Shannon, the US under secretary of state, said: “Good-neighborliness is an important first step.”
He said: “It is important to note the bravery and courage of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev for the organization of this conference. These are very important, we can say, revolutionary steps that contribute to the improvement of relations and the solution of many complex issues.”
Noting the severity of the situation in his neighboring country, Mirziyoyev said in his opening speech at the summit on Tuesday that the situation in Afghanistan has a direct impact on Uzbekistan.
“The security of Afghanistan is the security of Uzbekistan,” he said adding that “the involvement of all new players in the conflict has led to a worsening of the conflict. It has ceased to be purely Afghan, becoming increasingly a complex international problem.”
In line with this, regional countries, in particular, on Tuesday strongly opposed any provision of financial support, material assistance or arms to the Taliban and Daesh.
This new declaration, which is in essence a framework on how regional and international countries can assist Afghanistan with ending the ongoing war, was drawn up and approved at a Senior Officials Meeting ahead of the peace summit and adopted by delegates after the two-day ministerial-level meeting.
Among the participating countries that adopted the declaration was Pakistan and Iran as well as Russia, China, Qatar and India, the US, a number of European Countries and other Central Asian states.
All nations attending pledged to support Afghanistan’s peace process and agreed that a political settlem


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