Russia has invited the Taliban representatives to take part in Moscow multinational conference on Afghanistan which will be held early September, the Foreign Ministry of Russia said in a statement Tuesday.
The meeting will be held in Moscow on September 4. It will be second such meeting after that in April last year, the statement said.
The Moscow conference is aimed at facilitating the national reconciliation process in Afghanistan and securing peace in that country “as soon as possible”.
“The aim of the upcoming meeting is to help narrow the gaps in the approaches taken by the Afghan government and the Taliban to launching a direct intra-Afghan dialogue,” the statement said.
According to the statement, the Moscow format was introduced in 2017 on the basis of the six-party mechanism for consultations between special representatives from Russia, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran and India.
At the first round of the conference which took place on April 14, last year, the United States were also invited to take part in the meeting but it declined, saying it did not know Russia’s objectives for the gathering.
In the statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry, however, cited the U.S. representatives as saying that the new administration lacked an Afghanistan strategy at the time.
Unlike the previous round, the upcoming meeting will be co-chaired by both Russia and Afghanistan. Twelve countries including the U.S. have been invited to take part in the conference. The leadership of the Taliban’s political office in Doha has also been invited to attend the gathering, according to the statement.