MOSCOW, March 30. /TASS/. Washington has refused to take part in the meeting on Afghanistan in Moscow on April 14, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, told a press briefing on Thursday.
"On April 14, Moscow will host another round of regional consultations on the Afghan issue," the diplomat said. "The security situation in Afghanistan and further prospects for its development will be discussed during the talks. The key objective of this event, in our view, is hammering out a single regional approach regarding efforts to further promote the national reconciliation process in that country while maintaining Kabul’s leadership role and adhering to the principles of integrating the armed opposition into peaceful life discussed and approved earlier."
Zakharova noted that "invitations have been sent to a number of countries." "Those were, of course, Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, the Central Asian countries along with the United States," she said. The diplomat emphasized that "the US, the officials in Washington expressed their interest in this event and the international discussion of this issue in general." "Actually, an invitation has been sent," she noted.
"Most of the representatives of those countries have already confirmed their participation," Zakharova went on to say. "We believe the participation of the Central Asian countries in the consultations is fundamentally important. The upcoming talks will thus bring together all Afghanistan's neighbors and the key countries of the region."
That said, Zakharova voiced regret over "Washington’s refusal to take part in the consultations." "The US is an important player in the Afghan direction," she noted. "Its willingness to join the peacekeeping efforts of the countries in the region would be an additional signal to the Afghan armed opposition on the need to end the hostilities and begin negotiations. But that’s their decision."