Beijing: The European Union's Special Envoy to Afghanistan on Wednesday hoped that "key player" China would mediate with the Taliban for acceptance of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's offer for unconditional peace talks.
Speaking at a press conference in Beijing, Roland Kobia said the EU was not in contact with the Taliban and urged those countries that were, including China, to talk to certain Taliban groups and mediate in the conflict, Efe reported. "China and the EU believe that this is an offer that is meaningful. It is an offer that presents an opportunity and a window that should be seized by all parties across conflict lines," Kobia said. Kobia is on an official visit to China, where he met his Chinese counterpart, Deng Xijun, and discussed, among other issues, the ongoing peace process and terrorism.
Two weeks ago, Ghani had offered the Taliban political recognition and talks without any pre-conditions in order to reopen peace negotiations and end a long-running conflict. The Taliban are yet to respond to the proposal, that was mooted at the opening of the second Kabul Process conference and has the backing of the international community. "In these kinds of scenarios windows open very quickly but they can also close very quickly," Kobia warned. In recent months, China has been making efforts to mediate between Pakistan and Afghanistan, two neighbours with a complex relationship as the latter accuses the former of supporting the Taliban. China has significantly increased its interest in the region with an eye to boosting economic expansion in Central and South Asia under its so-called "New Silk Road" initiative. IANS