Moscow : India made it clear that its participation in the multilateral conference in Moscow, Russia, was in sync with its Afghan policy and asserted that attending the meeting was not talking to the Taliban at all. It also said that it attended the conference in a “non-official” capacity in a bid to bring back peace in Afghanistan.
Initially, the meeting was proposed for September 4 but it was called off after the Afghan government pulled out of it. India had also declined an invitation to the meeting then. The Afghan government is learnt to have sent the country’s High Peace Council.
The one-day conference was hosted by Russia and participated by the Taliban as well as representatives from several countries including Pakistan, China and Iran.
Asked why India sent representatives to the meeting when the Taliban was participating in it, the spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Raveesh Kumar said in New Delhi that India will be part of any peace process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.
“We will participate in any process which is consistent with the policy we have for Afghanistan… It was decided by the government that our participation will be at non-official level,” he said.
To a question on participation of Taliban in the meeting, he said, “Where did we say that there will be talks with Taliban? We did not say that.” “In our policy on Afghanistan which we have articulated and which has been consistent for quite sometime that we will be supportive of any process in Afghanistan is a party to the process,” said Kumar.
India’s consistent policy has been that the peace talks should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled and with participation of the government of Afghanistan. India has been actively engaged in reconstruction activities in war-ravaged Afghanistan and has already spent USD 2 billion in various projects there.
India’s former envoy to Afghanistan Amar Sinha and former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan T C A Raghavan were representing New Delhi at a “non-official” capacity.
In his opening remarks at the conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia and the countries of the region will continue to do everything possible to launch dialogue between Afghan government and the Taliban, which is banned in Russia. “We are determined to make every possible effort to facilitate the opening of a new page in the history of Afghanistan,” he was quoted as saying by the state-run Tass news agency.
Lavrov said the conference was “aimed at building an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue in order to advance the national reconciliation process”.
The US Embassy in Moscow has sent a diplomat to observe Friday’s discussions at the meeting which is being attended by representatives from Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, Pakistan and some other countries.
Pakistan among the few countries to successfully turn tide against terrorism: Imran
Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the country condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including state-terrorism against people under illegal occupation. The PM stated that Pakistan is “among the few countries to have successfully turned the tide against terrorism”.
Addressing the 19th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit at Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Khan reiterated that Pakistan is ready to share its experience and expertise in counter-terrorism. He added that growing intolerance and Islamophobia are threatening to accentuate religious fault-lines. He further said that Pakistan will remain actively engaged in SCO’s counter-terrorism initiatives.
Speaking on Afghanistan, PM Khan said that “the conflict in Afghanistan has no military solution”, adding that Pakistan is fully supporting efforts for “peace and reconciliation, through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process”.
“Excellencies, The world stands at a crossroads. For the first time in ages, we are seeing the advent of a multi-polar global order. Epicentres of economic power and growth momentum are shifting eastwards. Regional integration is speeding up. Disruptive technologies are maturing. Threats from terrorism to climate change to narcotics to bacterial resistance continue to loom large,” said PM Khan.
“There are increasing barriers to open trade and innovation. Meanwhile, growing intolerance and Islamophobia are threatening to accentuate religious fault-lines. For its part, Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including State-terrorism against people under illegal occupation. We are among the few countries to have successfully turned the tide against terrorism,” added the Pakistan PM.
“Pakistan remains ready to share its experience and expertise in counter-terrorism. We will also remain actively engaged in SCO’s counter-terrorism initiatives. Excellencies, There is finally a realization that the conflict in Afghanistan has no military solution. Pakistan is fully supporting efforts for peace and reconciliation, through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process,” further said Pakistan PM Khan.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reiterated India’s strong stand against terrorism and appealed that countries supporting, aiding and funding terrorism must be held accountable. PM Modi highlighted the spirit and ideals of SCO to strengthen cooperation in the fight against terrorism even as Khan looked on.
Without naming Pakistan, a country that has made state-sponsored terrorism its biggest policy to counter India for the last several decades, PM Modi said every country needs to come together, unite and fight against the scourge.
Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Moscow: Vladimir Putin has said Russia will fight for an independent Palestinian state, and called for the issues of the Middle East to be resolved through peaceful means.
Despite international criticism over Russia’s own role in the Ukrainian crisis, Mr Putin was hailed last week by a St Petersburg Cossack group for his ability to “bring order and stop wars”.
In an address to the Arab League summit in Egypt on Saturday, Putin spoke against foreign intervention in countries’ internal disputes and spoke of the role Russia can play in diplomatic channels.
While Russia openly opposes the stance of US-backed Israel on the Gaza crisis, its position in the Middle East is complicated. Putin is one of Iran’s key allies, but as he spoke on Saturday the core nations of the Arab League engaged in air strikes on the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
His attempts to urge a peaceful solution in Yemen haven’t had much of an immediate impact – on Sunday, the Arab League agreed to the creation of a joint military forces comprised of around 40,000 elite troops to resolve the future “challenges” of the Middle East.
As one of the “Quartet” entities involved in Middle East peace negotiations, Russia has played a key role in talks about the fallout of last year’s Gaza crisis.
He told the summit this weekend: “Palestinians have the right to establish an independent and habitable state with a capital in East Jerusalem.
“Russia will continue to contribute to achieving this goal through bilateral and multilateral channels,” he said.
Trump claims Queen had fun with him during his UK visit
Washington: US President Donald Trump claimed that Britain
s Queen Elizabeth II had more fun during his state visit to the UK than in the last 25 years."I have such a great relationship, and we were laughing and having fun. And her people said she hasnt had so much fun in 25 years. Then I got criticized for it because they said we were having too much fun,” the Hill quoted Trump as saying.
Trump`s comments come two weeks after his first state visit to London to meet the 93-year-old monarch. During his three-day visit, the president dined with the Queen, members of the British royal family and other British politicians at Buckingham Palace.
Trump and the queen reaffirmed the importance of the Washington-London relationship during an elaborate state banquet.”On behalf of all Americans I offer a toast to the eternal friendship of our people, the vitality of our nations and to the long cherished and truly remarkable reign of her majesty, the queen,” Trump said in his toast during the event.
He also met Prime Minister Theresa May. Opposing Trump
s visit, thousands of people hit the streets. TheTrump Baby` blimp was flown by the demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament, according to CNN, alongside a 16-foot robot version of Trump sitting on the toilet and tweeting.
Other activists came dressed as gorillas, with signs reading that they “only eat chlorinated chicken” — a nod to concerns in Britain that a post-Brexit trade deal with the US would mean a decline in food standards for imported produce.