Officials from the United States, Russia, China and Pakistan are scheduled to meet in China this week to discuss Afghanistan, Reuters reported, citing the State Department and the Chinese foreign embassy.
A State Department spokesperson told Reuters that US special representative for Afghanistan Tom West will be attending the talks while a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said that the meeting would be hosted by Chinese special envoy for Afghanistan Yue Xiaoyong.
Interfax news agency reported, citing a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had arrived for the talks in China, Reuters noted. Pakistan is also slated to participate in the discussions.
Taliban representatives have been invited to attend the talks by China, the US understands, the State Department spokesperson told the news wire.
“China, the US, Russia and Pakistan are countries with significant influence on the Afghan issue. We hope to seek synergy between this meeting and the third Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan, further build consensus on the Afghan issue, encourage regional countries and the international community to step up support for peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan, and help the country achieve peace, stability and development at an early date,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday regarding the talks.
A State Department spokesperson told Reuters that the US believed the countries held shared interests in building back Afghanistan’s economy, making sure the Taliban stays true to forming a more inclusive government and combating terrorism.
But the development comes amid Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, which is now in its second month, and Lavrov has been targeted by international sanctions.
The Hill has reached out to the State Department, Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, and Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC for comment.