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Foreign Minister Speaks with his Norwegian Counterpart

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KABUL – Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Haneef Atmar had a telephone conversation this afternoon with his Norwegian counterpart, Ms. Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide.

At the outset, Mr. Atmar conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the government and the people of Norway on the tragic landslide that occurred in the village of Ask, 25 kilometers northeast of Oslo last Wednesday destroying houses and killing several people.

The Norwegian foreign Minister thanked Mr. Atmar for his sympathy and condolences for the loss of life, promising to convey the message of condolence not only to the mayor of the respective city, but also to the rescue team.

The two sides discussed the latest developments on the Afghan peace process and the resumption of the 2nd round of talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha.

With regards to the resumption of the 2nd round of negotiations in Qatar, Mr. Atmar pointed out that it was essential to ensure that the peace process moves along in the right direction towards an outcome that has the approval of the Afghan people and the support of the country’s international partners.

The Foreign Minister expressed concerns at the increase in the level of violence and Taliban’s deliberate targeting of journalists, media workers and civil society activists that increased “anger, frustration and anxiety” among the Afghan people highlighting that “a lasting peace could only be sustained by a democratic and inclusive Afghanistan.” Mr. Atmar said that given the above circumstances, Kabul wanted to work not only with the Taliban, but also to seek its regional and international partners’ support to persuade the Taliban to honor their obligations and commitments made during  the peace process.

Mr. Atmar expressed hope that Kabul and Oslo should be able to shape their policy environment in support of their shared goals and interest asking Norway’s continued cooperation on gaining the UN Security Council’s further support for the Afghan peace process.

Assuring Mr. Atmar of her government’s full backing of the ongoing negotiations in Doha, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs said that Oslo would work very closely with Kabul and Washington to make the Afghan peace process is a success.

Ms. Søreide noted that Norway was looking forward to updating and renewing its Strategic partnership Agreement (SPA) with Afghanistan on which a special task force was already working