US, Russia, China, Pak urge Taliban to agree for ceasefire

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The US, China, Russia and Pakistan have jointly urged the Taliban to immediately agree to a ceasefire and begin direct negotiations with the Afghanistan government to end the 18-year violence in the war-torn country.

In a joint statement, issued Friday following the conclusion of a meeting on the Afghan peace process held in Beijing on July 10-11, they re-affirmed that the negotiations should be “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” and produce a peace framework as soon as possible.

“This framework should guarantee the orderly and responsible transition of the security situation and detail an agreement on a future inclusive political arrangement acceptable to all Afghans,” it said.

The US, Russia, China and Pakistan have asked relevant parties to grasp the opportunity for peace and start immediately the intra-Afghan negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghanistan government and other Afghans, the statement said.

Pakistan for the first time joined the US, Russia and China’s trilateral consultations on the Afghanistan peace process.

Welcoming Pakistan in joining the consultation, the statement said, “They believe that Pakistan can play an important role in facilitating peace in Afghanistan.”

Pakistan appreciated the constructive efforts by the China-Russia-US trilateral consultation on the Afghan peace process, it said, adding that the four countries encouraged all parties to take steps to reduce violence, leading to a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire that starts with intra-Afghan negotiations.

Exchanging views on the current situation and joint efforts for realising a political settlement to advance peace, stability and prosperity of Afghanistan and the region, the four nations emphasised the importance of the trilateral consensus on the Afghan peace process reached in Moscow on April 25. They welcomed recent positive progress as the crucial parties concerned have advanced their talks and increased contacts with each other and also the intra-Afghan meetings held in Moscow and Doha.  PTI