Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Talks begin with Taliban in Norway

OSLO, Norway ( Associated Press) — Amid the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, a Taliban delegation led by Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaki on Sunday began three-day talks in Oslo with Western government officials and representatives of Afghan civil society.

The meeting is being held in a closed room at a hotel in the snow-capped mountains above the Norwegian capital. On the first day, Taliban representatives will hold meetings with women’s rights activists and human rights defenders from Afghanistan and from the Afghan diaspora.

Ahead of the talks, the Taliban’s deputy minister of culture and information tweeted a voice message which he said was from Muttaki, expressing the hope of “a good journey full of achievements” and thanking Norway for saying that He hopes that he will become a “gateway to one”. Positive relations with Europe.”

This is the first time their representatives have held official meetings in Europe since the Taliban took over the country in August. Prior to this, he traveled to Russia, Iran, Qatar, Pakistan, China and Turkmenistan.

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During the talks, Muttaki will push for the Taliban’s demand that the nearly $10 billion frozen by the United States and other Western countries be released as Afghanistan faces a precarious humanitarian situation.

The United Nations has managed to provide some liquidity and allow the new administration to pay for imports, including electricity, but has warned that 1 million Afghan children are at risk of starvation, and 38 million in the country. Most of the people are living below the poverty line.

Norway’s foreign ministry said the Taliban delegation would also meet with Afghans in Norway, including “female leaders, journalists and activists on human rights and humanitarian, economic, social and political issues, among other things.”

“Norway continues to negotiate with the Taliban in support of the Afghan people to promote human rights, women’s participation in society and strengthen humanitarian and economic efforts in Afghanistan,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

A US delegation led by Special Representative for Afghanistan Tom West plans to discuss “the formation of a representative political system”. responses to immediate humanitarian and economic crises; security and counter-terrorism concerns; and human rights, especially education for girls and women,” according to a statement issued by the US State Department.

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On Friday, Norwegian Foreign Minister Aniken Huitfeld stressed that the visit was “not a legitimacy or recognition of the Taliban. But we should talk to those who in practice govern the country today.”

“We are extremely concerned about the dire situation in Afghanistan,” Huitfeld said, noting that the economic and political conditions have created “a full-scale humanitarian catastrophe for the millions of people facing starvation” in the country. .

The Scandinavian country, home to the Nobel Peace Prize, is no stranger to sensitive diplomacy and has been involved in peace efforts in a number of countries in the past, including Mozambique, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Colombia, the Philippines, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. , Syria, Myanmar, Somalia, Sri Lanka and South Sudan.

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Nation World News Desk
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