Uzbekistan seeks new venue for Afghan peace

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Image Credit: Press Service of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Tashkent has invited UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, to the conference on peace in Afghanistan, as well as EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, and her counterparts from China, Russia, the United States, Britain and many other countries.

Uzbekistan wants to establish a new venue for peace talks between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban, it said on Tuesday, having invited the world’s top diplomats to a conference later this month.

The Tashkent government hopes the March 26-27 conference will jumpstart the “Afghan-owned, Afghan-led process for national reconciliation”, its foreign ministry said in a statement.

The meeting will be the first such event to be hosted by Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who came to power in 2016 and has pledged to open up the resource-rich nation of 32 million to the outside world. 

Mirziyoyev’s office said last week that U.S. President Donald Trump supported the conference in a message, saying his “administration is considering the composition of the relevant delegation of the United States”.

The Uzbek foreign ministry said it expected the meeting to adopt the resolution calling for “guaranteed integration of the armed opposition into the political life of Afghanistan” while condemning “all forms and manifestations of terrorism”.

“Initiating the Tashkent Conference, Uzbekistan by no means intends to confine itself to arranging it as a one-off event, but to continue with vigorous efforts – both bilaterally and multilaterally – to promote a peaceful political process in Afghanistan,” it said.

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