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Russia hails ‘positive signal’ from Taliban

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov looks on as he attends a meeting of Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Ufa, Russia, July 10, 2015. REUTERS/Ivan Sekretarev/Pool/Files

Russia said on Tuesday that the Taliban’s initial assurances since completing their military takeover of Afghanistan have been a “positive signal” and that it supports “inclusive” political dialogue in the country.

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“I consider it a positive signal that the Taliban in Kabul are declaring and in practice showing their readiness to respect the opinion of others,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“In particular, they said that they are ready to discuss a government in which not only they but other Afghan representatives will also participate.”

Lavrov told a meeting in Kaliningrad that Moscow wanted the formation of Kabul’s new government to be an inclusive process.

“We support the beginning of an inclusive national dialogue with the participation of all of Afghanistan’s political, ethnic and religious groups,” he said in comments carried by the state-run Rossiya 24 television channel after the meeting.

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Russia on Monday said it would decide on recognising the new Taliban government based on how responsibly the new authorities govern.

Its ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitry Zhirnov was meeting the Taliban on Tuesday and has said that the militants have already established public order.

The Kremlin has in recent years reached out to the Taliban and hosted its representatives in Moscow several times, most recently last month.

Moscow is closely watching for a potential spillover of the instability into neighbouring ex-Soviet Central Asian countries where Russia maintains military bases.

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