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Iran, India and Russia should be part of peace process: Karzai

hamid-karzai_43AFGHANISTAN: The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said that the key regional countries, including Iran, India and Russia should be part of the Afghan reconciliation process with the Taliban group.

The remarks by Karzai comes amid ongoing efforts by the Quadrilateral Coordination Group, involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and United States to revive stalled peace talks.

“If absence of peace in Afghanistan is because of internal disputes, then we, ourselves, should hold talks to settle our differences. However, the problem in Afghanistan is because of external factors. It is the interests of outside powers that have engulfed our country,” Karzai quoted in a report by Iran’s Fars News Agency said.

Karzai further added “Pakistan, China and the US are involved in the negotiations, making efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan. However, Iran, India and Russia, which are important regional states and neighbors, should also be part of the process.”

This comes as the third round of quadrilateral meeting on Afghan peace talks concluded in Islamabad on Saturday with the meeting participants urging Taliban to sin-in for peace talks in a bid to find a peaceful settlement in the ongoing violence in the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan said Saturday that the date for direct talks with the Taliban group is expected to be ascertained by the end of this month.

A statement by MoFA said the group adopted a roadmap stipulating the stages and steps in the process which followed by progress made during the first and second round of talks.

“The Group stressed that the outcome of the reconciliation process should be a political settlement that results in the cessation of violence, and durable peace in Afghanistan,” the statement added.

The third round of QCG meeting was hosted by Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry which was attended by Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard G. Olson and China’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan Ambassador Deng Xijun.

The Afghan and Pakistani leaders agreed to revive the stalled Afghan peace talks during a meeting on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad last year. -KP

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