Pakistan and Russia take important decisions over Afghanistan endgame

Pakistan and Russia take important decisions over Afghanistan endgame

MOSCOW - Pakistan and Russia have taken important decisions over the Afghan peace process.

Both Pakistan and Russian foreign ministers have decided that Russia be included in the Afghanistan peace process.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Moscow on Wednesday.

Lavrov said Russia and Pakistan had a “common interest” in helping the peace process in Afghanistan start “as soon as possible”.

“We have a common interest in creating conditions for the start of the political process as soon as possible,” Lavrov said. “The process by which Afghani people would lead themselves and which would take into consideration the interests of all neighboring countries.”

Lavrov said Moscow tries not to impose “anything on anyone” when it comes to the Afghan peace process.

“We try not to impose anything on anyone, but I think that Russia, Pakistan, and other members of the so-called Moscow format have found a quite efficient framework where it is comfortable for Afghani sides (to work),” said.

Meanwhile, Qureshi said Russia’s presence was “essential” for peace in Afghanistan and that Moscow had “legitimate concerns” over security and extremism when the influence of Islamic State group in the region was “growing”.