Serbia ‘Hosted Afghan Govt-Taliban Negotiations’, Says Ex-Minister

Former Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, who is now the president of the Serbian parliament, said on Tuesday that negotiations between the Afghan authorities and the Taliban were held in secret in Serbia a few years ago.

"They came three times, I was their host. The president, the current president of Afghanistan [Ashraf Ghani], was on a video link, there were representatives of the Afghanistan Peace Council and some representatives of the Taliban, in other words their factions," Dacic told Pink TV on Tuesday.

He added that "we [Serbia] did not interfere in [the negotiations], the atmosphere was correct and the common assessment was that some progress was made at that time, a truce was declared".

"However, when the great powers saw that we were doing it, then they said 'so come on, we will do it, in Doha, in Qatar'. You saw the result," Dacic said.

He did not say exactly when and where the negotiations took place, but said the talks were held "with the permission of President [Aleksandar] Vucic".

Dacic was foreign minister from April 2014 until October 2020. Vucic became president in 2017. Talks between US officials and the Taliban reportedly began in secret in Qatar in July 2018.

The BBC reported in June 2018 that the Taliban announced a three-day ceasefire with Afghan government forces, days after a unilateral ceasefire was ordered by the government.

Dacic also said that Serbia, as host of the negotiations, "made a good story for ourselves in our relations with Afghanistan, in the sense that both sides were grateful to us".

He added that he has not spoken publicly about negotiations until now "because we agreed that it should be a secret; that is, not to be a secret but not to be published so as not to ruin ...

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