Russia Indefinitely Postpones Meeting on Afghan Peace Talks

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, July 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, July 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL, Afghanistan — Russia postponed indefinitely a meeting on the Afghan peace process planned for next week, Afghan officials said.

A statement released Monday by the office of the Afghan presidency said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani have decided to postpone the meeting and hold it at a later date.

President Ghani insists the peace talks should be "Afghan owned and led," according to the statement.

Lavrov said Russia agrees the peace process should be under the auspices of the Afghans and it is "ready to cooperate," the statement added.

Russia's Foreign Ministry, which had extended the invitation to the Taliban despite the group's official designation as a terrorist organization in Russia, also confirmed in a statement Monday that the talks have been postponed after Lavrov's conversation with Ghani.

"(Ghani) supported the idea of a Moscow meeting in principle and suggested postponing it in order to come up with a consolidated position," the ministry's statement said.

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