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China Offers Mediation in Afghan Taliban peace Talks
International

China Offers Mediation in Afghan Taliban peace Talks

China offered on Thursday to mediate in stalled efforts to engage the Afghan Taliban in peace negotiations, reflecting its desire to play a more active role in a region it sees as part of its sphere of influence.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the announcement as he arrived in the Pakistani capital on a two-day visit aimed at cementing traditionally warm ties between communist China and conservative Islamic Pakistan.
Afghanistan and its western backers have been trying to bring moderate Taliban figures to the negotiating table to end years of war in the country. Pakistan is key to the process because of its historic ties to the Taliban leaders, who have used the Pakistani border region as a safe haven. “We will support the Afghan government in realizing reconciliation with various political factions including the Taliban,” Wang told reporters.
“China is ready to play its constructive role and will provide necessary facilitation at any time if it is required by various parties in Afghanistan.”
Wang said he had a “strong sense” that Pakistan had a “strong will to take a constructive part in the resolution of this matter.”
In Washington, the White House said President Barack Obama and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke by phone on Thursday about counterterrorism and other issues, and agreed to meet “at a mutually convenient time.”
Obama “welcomed the improved relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and noted appreciation for Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorism,” the White House said.

 

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