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US plans to attend the Afghanistan conference in Tashkent

The Department of State sees the Tashkent conference as part of an extension of the Kabul Process

WASHINGTON, March 6. /TASS/. The United States plans to participate in an international conference on peace and security in Afghanistan, which will be held in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent in late March, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wells of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the Department of State told TASS.

"We are planning to attend the Tashkent conference. We have not yet decided at what level but hope to make that decision soon," she said.

"We do see the Tashkent conference as part of an extension of the Kabul Process. For us, what is important is that these mechanisms and conferences be Afghan-owned and led," Wells stressed.

"As you know, the Tashkent conference came out of a meeting between President Ghani and Uzbek President Mirziyoyev in Tashkent, the first visit by an Afghan leader to Uzbekistan, which produced a variety of agreements, including important economic agreements to expand connectivity between the two countries," the diplomat said.

"We think that Central Asia and Uzbekistan in particular with the presidency of Mirziyoyev have an important role to play in stitching Afghanistan back into the region, and the energy ties, the trade ties, the people-to-people ties are extremely important to Afghanistan’s stabilization. So yes, we do support this initiative," Wells stressed when commenting on the coming meeting in Tashkent.

In late February, speaking after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, his Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov confirmed that invitations to the conference in Tashkent had been sent to Moscow, Washington, Beijing, the UN and the European Union. The meeting will be held on March 26-27. "This meeting will be held at the level of foreign ministers," Kamilov said.