Zalmay Khalilzad, former US ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations, listens to speakers during a panel discussion. File photo/ Reuters
WASHINGTON: The US special representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, will meet with Chinese, Russian and European Union diplomats on Afghanistan on Thursday as he tries to forge a peace deal with the Taliban to bring an end to America’s longest war.
“Discussion topics include international support for the Afghan peace process, the role each party can play in bringing an end to the war, and progress to date in peace talks,” the State Department said in a statement.
The meeting at the State Department will include Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan; Deng Xijun, his Chinese counterpart; and Roland Kobia, the EU’s special envoy.
Khalilzad will brief them on his recent talks in Doha, Qatar, with the Taliban, where the United States reported progress but no final deal on a withdrawal of US-led international forces.
The Taliban rejects direct negotiations with the Kabul government led by President Ashraf Ghani, accusing it of being a US puppet.
US negotiators are pressing the Taliban to accept a ceasefire and talks on Afghanistan’s political future with representatives of Afghan society, including Ghani’s government. But the talks have primarily focused on the Taliban’s counter-terrorism assurances and a US troop withdrawal.
The city is now also seeking to amend laws to allow individuals to be extradited to mainland China, despite grave human rights concerns towards Beijing.
China said on Friday it was raising anti-dumping duties on certain alloy-steel seamless tubes and pipes used at utilities and imported from the United States and the European Union.
The leaders of China, France, Germany and the EU were set to meet in Paris on Tuesday for “unprecedented” talks on how to improve ties, despite growing jitters over Beijing’s massive investments in Europe.
Thailand reported 965 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday after registering record daily rises in the past two days as the country deals with a third wave of infections and a highly contagious variant.
Activists urged people this year to stage symbolic protests from the start of the holiday on Tuesday, including by painting a three-finger salute used by demonstrators on traditional Thingyan pots filled with flowers, which are typically displayed at this time.
Japan has argued the water release is necessary to press ahead with the complex decommissioning of the plant after it was crippled by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami, pointing out that similarly filtered water is routinely released from nuclear plants around the world.