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Russia supports broad-based government

Long-accused by the Taliban movement of aiding the Northern Alliance’s military struggle against it, Russia on Wednesday announced its support for proposed Afghan peace talks to end two decades of war in the country. “We are for settlement in Afghanistan. We want the two sides to sit down at the table and begin negotiations ... Only a broad-based government in Afghanistan can settle this situation,” said Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Eduard Shevchenko at a press conference in Islamabad.

Asked if this meant a policy change towards Afghanistan, Yevgeny Griva, Press Secretary of the Russian Federation in Islamabad, told IRIN on Thursday that the Russian position had not changed. “We still do not recognise the Taliban. Nonetheless, we have to be realistic here as they do control 95 percent of Afghan territory and undoubtedly they will be the dominant force in any new government.” He added, however, that “no talks will be held with the Taliban until reconciliation between our two countries is met.”

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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