Russia, China note role of Moscow format in Afghanistan settlement

MOSCOW — Moscow and Beijing have highlighted the “constructive” role of the Moscow format of consultations and other mechanisms in the political settlement of “crisis in Afghanistan”, according to a joint statement signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Putin and Xi expressed their support for mechanisms involving Afghanistan’s neighboring countries aimed at resolving the country’s issues.

“The sides note and support the active and constructive role of regional venues for the political settlement of the Afghan problem – the Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan, the mechanism of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, the regional Quartet of Russia-China-Iran-Pakistan, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” the statement said.

The Moscow format, established in 2017, includes a six-party mechanism of consultations among the special representatives of Russia, Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, and Pakistan. Its first meeting was held on April 14, 2017, with the participation of 11 countries, including Afghanistan.

The latest, fifth meeting was held in September 2023 in Moscow, with the participation of Taliban foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Quoted by TASS, Russian President’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov stated that the Moscow format on Afghanistan will continue its work in 2024.

This follows comments from the U.S. Department of State, which reacted to Putin’s visit to China by stating that Beijing cannot seek improved relations with Europe and other countries while supporting the biggest threat against Europe.