Fri, 18 Sep 2020

Washington [US], Aug 7 (ANI): US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has called for the timely release of the Taliban prisoners to begin the intra-Afghan talks.

"Following the timely release of these prisoners, the Taliban have committed to enter talks with the national team representing the strength and diversity of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The Taliban have also committed to significantly reduce violence and casualties during the talks where the parties will decide on a political roadmap to end the long and brutal war and agree on a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire," Pompeo said on Thursday.

Lauding the participants of the Loya Jirga (grand assembly) that will be convened on August 7 to consolidate national support for peace, the top US diplomat said that Washington will give full support to Afghanistan in achieving "peace, prosperity and self-reliance.""To help Afghanistan realise peace, prosperity and self-reliance, we are ready to support a peace settlement, including by extending US development programmes to previously under-served areas. We remain committed to providing humanitarian assistance to respond to the COVID pandemic. We look forward to joining other donors at the upcoming Geneva Conference to discuss how best to support the Afghan people," he said.

Speaking on the US-Afghanistan partnership, Pompeo said that Washington remains committed to improving regional economic ties and connectivity.

"Promoting joint infrastructure projects is a key element of improved connectivity. We are prepared to support these projects through such US agencies as the Development Finance Corporation (DFC), which is also considering an investment in agriculture and extractive industries, among other sectors," he added.

On February 29, the US and Taliban signed a peace deal in Doha, Qatar, stipulating the beginning of intra-Afghan negotiations and exchange of prisoners. (ANI)

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