Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, June 24th, 2019

Russia, Afghanistan Mark 100th Anniversary of Relations

Russia, Afghanistan Mark 100th Anniversary of Relations

Top Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar visits Moscow for first time to attend centenary celebrations
MOSCOW - Russia and Afghanistan celebrated the centenary of their diplomatic relations by organizing another round of informal peace talks between the warring Afghan sides in Moscow.
The meeting in Moscow gathered representatives of the Afghan government and Taliban and influential Afghan politicians.
For the first time the Taliban delegation of 14 people was headed by Abdul Ghani Baradar, chief of the Taliban's diplomatic office in Doha and co-founder of the movement.
Addressing guests of the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow pursues a policy of "transforming Afghanistan into a peaceful and prospering state".
Lavrov welcomed Taliban's decision to come to Moscow saying "involving all the parties marks a new stage on the way of launching peace process".
"Russia is convinced that the conflict in Afghanistan has no military solution. The only possible way to achieve peace is through diplomatic means," he said.
He added that Russia stands for the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from the country and called on all Afghan parties to start negotiations with the participation of a broad spectrum of public political forces as soon as possible
'Shared history'
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai stressed that Russian-Afghan relations have a long history. He recalled that the Soviet Union and Afghanistan were the first countries to recognize each other's sovereignty in the 20th century.
He also said the Soviet Union "contributed a lot" in the development of Afghanistan. Karzai said that in the 2000s the two countries managed to overcome past problems and entered "a new positive stage".
"We consider the relations between Russia and Afghanistan to be one of the most important. They should rely on negative and positive experience in our relations and see our national interests as reference points and open a new page in relations of friendship and cooperation," he said.
Karzai added that the Afghan people welcome Russian efforts to establish intra-Afghan dialogue and expect them to be continued.
"The Afghan people are in favor of expanding relations with Russia. Our efforts to restore peace and stability in our country will ensure that no country in the world, especially our neighbors, will be exposed to any threats from Afghanistan. Only a peaceful and stable Afghanistan can make the dreams of peace and stability in the region a reality," he said.
The Taliban want all obstacles on the way toward peace in Afghanistan to be eliminated, Baradar, who is in Russia for the first time, said to the gathering.
Russia and Afghanistan have centuries-long history. Being neighbors, the two countries have close ties in different areas, he added.
He said during the war with the Soviet Union "people from both sides suffered".
"We suggest that history has taught us all a good thing, that all parties should take into account each other's interests and these interests should not violate each other's political interests.
"We will not allow anyone to use our country against anyone. At the same time, we will not allow other states to attack and use our state so that what has happened before will not happen again," Baradar said.
Russia and Afghanistan established diplomatic relations in 1919. Russia, was the first country in the world to recognize Afghanistan as an independent state.  (AA)