Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement at the International Geneva Conference on Afghanistan held online on 24 November 2020
Ladies and gentlemen,
The year 2020 has become for us a year of hope for a possible end of the armed conflict in Afghanistan in the near future and for establishing a lasting and durable peace. Russia welcomed the last February agreement between the Taliban movement and the United States, that made it possible to launch the intra-Afghan dialogue in September this year.
In 2018–2019, Russia made quite an effort to create the necessary conditions and an atmosphere of trust between the parties. Let me recall you that it was in the Russian capital, at a meeting held in November 2018 in the framework of the so-called Moscow format, that delegations of the Taliban and the High Peace Council of Afghanistan representing, in fact, the government engaged for the first time in direct talks in the presence of observers from a dozen of regional countries and the United States. Moscow was also
the venue of the first consultations between representatives of the Taliban and the inclusive delegation of Afghan politicians held at the initiative of the Afghan Diaspora in Russia in February 2019 in the framework of the intra-Afghan dialogue.
We remain concerned with the deteriorating security situation, especially in the north of Afghanistan, where ISIS fighters concentrate their forces and keep trying to create a bridgehead for the expansion to Central Asia. No less dangerous is the high level of production of drugs in Afghanistan, which is a source of financial support for both local and international terrorists.
In those circumstances, there is an urgent need for the teams of the negotiators from the Afghan government and the Taliban currently in session in Doha to agree as soon as possible on all procedural matters. We call upon both opposing parties, as well as representatives of all Afghan ethnopolitical groups and outside players interested in stabilizing the situation in the country to contribute to the end of the protracted intra-Afghan war and the restoration of Afghanistan as a peaceful, secure, independent and self-sufficient state free from terrorism and drugs.
We are committed to promoting intra-Afghan talks in the "troika plus" format with the participation of Russia, the United States and China, as well as Pakistan. Other partners may also be invited to engage in that work at a later stage.
Upon the successful completion of the negotiating process the international community will be required to take active steps to facilitate the development of post-conflict Afghanistan. Russia, on its part, will be prepared to provide relevant support in various areas, such as combating terrorism and drug-related crime, military-technological cooperation, specialized and civic training of Afghan citizens and provision of humanitarian assistance as well as industrial and infrastructural projects of mutual interest.
Thank you for your attention.