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Intra-Afghan dialogue to be held in Beijing

14 November, 2019

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KABUL: A Chinese diplomat in Kabul met State Minister for Peace Affairs Abdul Salam Rahimi and discussed the upcoming intra-Afghan dialogue in Beijing. The Beijing meeting is likely to be held later this month at a time when the peace process between the Taliban and the US is stalled.

President Donald Trump abruptly called talks with the Taliban in early September after a suicide bombing in Kabul killed an American soldier.

The intra-Afghan meeting has assumed importance as a big delegation of the Taliban will sit with a representative delegation from Kabul.

Government representatives will be part of the delegation, according to Afghan officials, who say a delegation has been formed for the Beijing talks. However, names of the delegates have not yet been announced.

Chinese Chargé d’Affaires in Kabul Wang Daxue met Rahimi and shared details about the preparations for the peace talks among the Afghans in Beijing have been completed, according to Rahimi’s Facebook page. The Chinese diplomat said China is making efforts so the China talks could help in the peace process.

On Tuesday Chinese special envoy for Afghanistan Deng Xijun told Pakistan Foreign Secretary that close cooperation between China and Pakistan was essential to ensuring that the Afghan peace and reconciliation process continued to move forward constructively.

A Foreign Office statement said Xijun noted that Pakistan had an important and unique role in the promotion of Afghan peace process and China looked forward to working closely with Pakistan in this regard.

The two sides agreed to continue their mutual engagement bilaterally as well as in the context of 4-party talks.

Pakistan was invited to the trilateral meeting of China, Russia and the US in Moscow last month and in Beijing in July.

Foreign Secretary Mahmood reiterated Pakistan’s strong commitment to a political settlement in Afghanistan, he underscored Pakistan’s hopes for early resumption of the stalled peace process.

He appreciated China’s positive contributions to Afghanistan’s national development and assured of Pakistan’s continued support in this context.

He noted that China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue provided a firm platform for strengthening trilateral cooperation in diverse areas.

Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen has already said a big delegation of the Taliban political representatives will join the dialogue with delegates from Afghanistan in Beijing.

The meeting was previously scheduled to be held on Oct. 29-30 but was postponed on Afghan government’s request in view of the election controversy.

China has actively been involved in the Afghan peace process and had offered to host intra-Afghan dialogue if all sides are agreed.

China had hosted representatives of the Taliban and Afghan government in Urumqi, capital of the western region of Xinjiang, in May 2015 with the mediation of Pakistan.

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