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19 February 202019:30

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at a meeting with Speaker of the House of People of the National Assembly of Afghanistan Mir Rahman Rahmani, Moscow, February 19, 2020

314-19-02-2020

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Mr Speaker,

Friends,

I am glad to welcome you to the Russian Foreign Ministry as part of your visit to our country.

Very old and good relations link our countries and people. At all times since our first contact, even during very difficult periods for our shared history, all groups of Afghan society and all citizens of our country have highly respected each other. Today, our relations are gaining new facets, and political contacts, economic ties, military-technical, humanitarian, cultural and educational cooperation are developing. For example, in the current academic year alone, over 560 Afghan citizens were admitted to Russian universities to study civilian specialties on government scholarships. Economic projects are successfully implemented, and this work, including to restore facilities built with the assistance of our country in Soviet times, will be more effective as the situation in Afghanistan finally returns to normal.

We are not just watching efforts to assist Afghans in national reconciliation, but we are actively participating in this work. At the same time, as part of the Moscow format and the procedure for inter-Afghan meetings which we initiated, to help the Afghans reach an agreement among themselves, but we never try to impose solutions from the outside, as it sometimes happens.

Now, there are once again serious and for the most part optimistic hopes that the inter-Afghan dialogue can finally begin, with a view to resolving all issues. That would surely make us happy, and we are ready to do all we can to help. Of course, the MPs chosen by the people will play an important and constructive role in these processes. I hope that the announced results of the September elections and the response to them will not prevent progress towards positive contacts between all Afghans in order to resolve all the problems of your long-suffering country.

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