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Following talks in Uzbekistan on March 27, more than 20 countries and organizations declared their support for direct talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban to end the 16-year conflict in Afghanistan, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reported.

A high-level meeting is slated to take place in the Uzbek capital, focusing on the Afghan peace process, with Li Baodong, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, leading a delegation to the meeting, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday.

In a statement sent to AFP via Whatsapp messenger today, the Taliban said it was "not invited to the Tashkent conference and it is too early to make a statement on its outcome".

On the sidelines of the conference, Ghani would meet with representatives from some other countries, including Federica Mogherini, EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.

The declaration distributed at the end of the conference noted the signatories' "strong backing for the National Unity Government's offer to launch direct talks with the Taliban, without any preconditions" and called on the Taliban to accept the offer. The Taliban also says that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces must withdraw before negotiations can begin.

During the summit, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted that this conference held at the initiative of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan is a logical continuation of practical efforts of the global community on ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan.

During the conference, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev offered to host peace negotiations between Afghanistan's government and the Taliban.

The Special Envoy thanked all States and the Afghan Government in particular for supporting and blessing Qatari efforts to find a solution to the crisis. "On the sideline of the conference, I will met H.E President Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini and other heads of delegations", Ghani tweeted.


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