BISHKEK, February 4. /TASS/. Washington is trying to take full control of talks with the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) and conduct talks in secrecy, keeping the countries of the region in the dark, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference following talks with his Kyrgyz counterpart Chingiz Aidarbekov on Monday.
"If we look at the Afghan issue in broader terms, we will see that there is a need to search for a political solution apart from resolving security issues. Russia has been calling for intra-Afghan dialogue, which would involve the government and the Taliban movement," Lavrov said, adding that the importance of the Moscow consultations on Afghanistan was confirmed at the Bishkek meeting. The Russian top diplomat pointed out that the Americans were regularly invited to those consultations but "they prefer meetings that involve less participants."
"Everyone agrees that dialogue between the government and the Taliban is inevitable. But some countries, namely the United States, seek to take control of this dialogue and conduct talks in secrecy," Lavrov noted. "Thus the countries of the region that care about what will become of Afghanistan are left in the dark as far as our American partners’ plans are concerned," he added.
According to Lavrov, "this kind of a unilateral approach and selfishness in regard to foreign policy initiatives is very typical of US administration officials who deal with foreign policy today," he stressed.
The US media reported earlier that US diplomats and the Taliban had made an agreement concerning the US troop withdrawal from the country in return for insurgents’ pledge not to shelter terrorist groups in areas they control.
In mid-January, the Taliban issued a statement warning Washington that they would abandon peace talks if the US refused to put the troop withdrawal issue on the agenda. They noted that the Americans had agreed to discuss the issue at the Qatar talks in November but later changed their position.
Six-day consultations between the US and the Taliban took place in Qatar’s capital of Doha in January. US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said fallowing the meeting that the parties had made significant progress. The US media, in turn, reported that the parties arrived at a draft agreement on the US troop pullout.