Qatar to join Afghan peace talks in Moscow: Official

Special envoy of Qatar, Ambassador Mutlaq Alqahtani, to participate in the March 18 meeting in Moscow, official tells Al Jazeera.

Qatar says it is committed to sustainable peace in Afghanistan [File: Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Qatar will attend a Russia-sponsored summit this week to discuss the future of war-ravaged Afghanistan, a senior official said in a statement to Al Jazeera.

Qatar’s special envoy, Ambassador Mutlaq Alqahtani, will participate in the March 18 meeting in Moscow, the official said on Tuesday.

“The state of Qatar is committed to sustainable peace in Afghanistan. Qatar will continue to facilitate the ongoing intra-Afghan negotiations,” he said, according to the statement.

“Qatar is working closely with its strategic partners to establish international and regional consensus over this process.”

The official said the meeting in Moscow on Thursday “will build upon the historic United States-Taliban peace agreement signed in Doha” in February last year and the “comprehensive intra-Afghan negotiations currently taking place in Doha”.

The Taliban and the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani have agreed to attend the conference in Russia, which is seeking to raise its profile in the Afghan peace efforts.

The US Department of State on Monday said Washington’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, will also attend the meeting.

China and Pakistan have also been invited to the talks, which come ahead of a May deadline for US President Joe Biden to decide whether to end the US’s two-decade military involvement in Afghanistan.

The meeting is one of a series of international gatherings called to try to break an impasse in talks on a political settlement to decades of war.

Taliban representatives and a delegation of Afghan leaders that includes government officials have been holding talks in Qatar’s capital, Doha, since September last year.

Following a proposal from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Turkey also plans to host an Afghan peace conference in Istanbul in April, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said last week.

The Russian and Turkish initiatives will run alongside the Qatar-hosted talks.

“Qatar will continue to assist the Afghan people by hosting these negotiations, and we hope the efforts of multiple international parties will help bring an end to the decades-long conflict,” said the statement issued by Doha on Tuesday.

Source: Al Jazeera