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Washington To Skip Meeting On Afghanistan Hosted By Russia

Washington is planning to skip a conference on reconciliation in Afghanistan that Russia is hosting on April 14, acting U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

"We don't plan to participate in these regional talks," Toner said on April 13. "It was unclear what the purpose was" of the talks, he said, adding that it "seemed to be a unilateral Russian attempt to assert influence in the region."

"We do generally support regional efforts that work with the Afghan government to build support for a peaceful outcome in Afghanistan, and I think we - going forward, we do plan to work with Russia and other key regional stakeholders to enhance dialogue on Afghanistan," he said.

Moscow invited 12 states to take part in consultations devoted to the national reconciliation process in Afghanistan and the start of direct talks between the country's government and the Taliban.

In December, Moscow hosted consultations between diplomats from Russia, Pakistan, and China to discuss the start of a national reconciliation process in Afghanistan. The format was expanded in mid-February to involve Afghanistan, Iran, and India.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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