U.S. official: Baku meeting extends hand to Taliban in establishing peace in Afghanista
The International Contact Group (ICG) on Afghanistan includes more than 50 nations which support the very courageous efforts of President Ashraf Ghani and enhance peace in Afghanistan, U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells said at a press conference in Baku on Friday, APA reports.
“At the Baku meeting we were able to send a very strong message of support for the ceasefire President Ghani instituted in Afghanistan. Such an initiative is supported by the civilian population of Afghanistan and Taliban,” she said.
Alice Wells also thanked the Azerbaijani government for its activities and military presence in Afghanistan.
"I think the efforts to economically integrate Afghanistan into the region and provide the country with the means to create a better future for its people are very important. And Azerbaijan is really at the heart of these efforts,” she said.
The U.S. State Department official mentioned the Lapis Lazuli corridor in which Azerbaijan plays a big role.
She stressed that the Lapis Lazuli corridor is going to be a critical factor in securing Afghanistan and the region’s stability.
Alice Wells described U.S.-Azerbaijan cooperation on Afghanistan as of one the foundations of the US-Azerbaijan bilateral partnership, once again expressing gratitude to Azerbaijan for sustained support for stability in Afghanistan.
“Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev really plays a leadership role in looking for opportunities to assist Afghanistan,” she said.
The U.S. State Department official went on to say that the meeting held in Baku June 28 was significant because it was held after the ceasefire was reached between the Afghan government and Taliban.
“I think the significance of this meeting is that it came after the ceasefire where we saw visibly that the Afghans whether their fighters or civilians are seeking peace. The U.S. welcomed the ceasefire initiated by President Ghani, and Secretary of State Pompeo issued a very important statement on June 16. Pompoe expressed the U.S. preparedness to facilitate, support and participate in peace negotiations,” she said.
“At yesterday’s meeting in Baku, the U.S., Afghanistan and the International Contract Group extended a hand to the Taliban and offered for them to walk through the door to a political negotiation for a dignified peace settlement,” Alice Wells added.
A meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG) on Afghanistan was held in Baku on June 28.
Azerbaijan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov, Afghanistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells, as well as representatives from about 60 countries attended the event.
Along with Afghanistan, Germany acts as a co-chair of the International Contact Group.
Representatives of state and non-governmental organizations from Afghanistan also participated in the event.
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