Representative from more than 50 countries and international organizations will attend the International Contact Group’s meeting in Moscow in October 11, where they will discuss the issues around the Afghan peace process and the peace talks with the Taliban, Russia’s foreign ministry said this week.
In response to a question about the meeting and Russia’s role in Afghanistan’s peace, the United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said Russia could play a vital role in supporting peace efforts in the region.
He made the remarks at the third Senior Officials Meeting in Kabul on Friday.
“Russia is a very important partner and player in efforts to peace internationally. And we certainly look to Russia to play very constructive role. They can play constructive role and they have the intention to play constructive role. And we hope that the efforts shall be very very fruitful to the international effort,” said Yamamoto.
Moscow has hosted other meetings on Afghanistan’s peace process, but none of those summits could bring the Taliban to the peace negotiations table.
Following the announcement of the new US strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia, President Ashraf Ghani said the situation in the region has changed.
In response to a query about whether the October 11 meeting will bring the Taliban to the negotiations table, political affairs analyst Sayed Ahmad Ahmadi said “I hope that it will be a positive step towards peace.”
“If the Afghans lead the peace process, we will reach a result; otherwise, I am not more hopeful about the (Moscow) meeting,” he added.
Meanwhile, Afghan Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi said at the Senior Officials Meeting that Kabul will host a big meeting on the Afghan peace process within the next three months.
Hakimi said the meeting will be attended by representatives of the international community, Afghan officials and political figures to design a roadmap for the peace talks and to take practical steps in talking with the Taliban.
“We want to agree on a roadmap to determine that which work can be done to assure the armed opposition groups to embrace peace as it was done by the Hizb-e-Islami,” Hakimi said.
Pakistani media meanwhile reported on Friday that President Ashraf Ghani will visit Islamabad in the near future. However, it is not clear so far that will the president visit Pakistan before or after the International Contact Group meeting in Moscow.
According to Pakistani media, Pakistan’s chief of army staff General Qamar Jawed Bajwa in his last visit to Kabul, invited the Afghan president to visit Islamabad and he has received positive response from Ghani.
The first International Contact Group (ICG) meeting was held in Jeddah this year in February to discuss the political, security, and economic situation in Afghanistan.
The meeting was hosted by the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and co-chaired by Ambassador Sabine Sparwasser, German Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Hekmat Khalil Karzai, Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan. Over 50 ICG member states and multilateral organizations participated.