Withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan
A spokesman for the Qatari Taliban political office, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, stated that the Taliban expects the foreign troops to leave Afghanistan by the end of April. «There are 3 months left until the deadline for the withdrawal of the American and other foreign troops from Afghanistan. Most have already left, only a few thousand remain. We hope they will leave Afghanistan by the end of April» — Stanikzai stated and expressed his hope that the USA will continue to follow the agreement, signed in Doha. Otherwise, as Stanikzai stated, ’’the Taliban will fight the occupying forces as always».
The press service of the Russian Emergency Ministry reported that the Russian sappers searched more than 120 hectares in Nagorno-Karabakh. More than 15,000 explosive items were neutralized. It was reported that a pyrotechnic group «Leader» is working in the Martuni region. The demining continues near the village of Afatli, in the Agdam region. The Russian sappers are clearing the territory together with their Azerbaijani colleagues in manual mode, and with help of two ’MV-4’ demining vehicles, delivered from Moscow.
3 The USA — Syria — Iraq
The new US administration didn’t specify if the US troops will continue to control some of the Syrian oil fields. While answering on the question «how exactly the control over some of the Syrian oil fields will play into the current US government’s strategy for Syria» — the US Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Public Affairs, John Kirby, responded that the purpose of the US military presence in Iraq and Syria is to continue to address the threat from the ’ISIS’. Some time ago, the former US President Donald Trump stated that Washington took control of some oil fields in parts of Syria that are not under control of Damascus.
4 The USA
The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, stated that the UN is ready to organize a meeting on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement. He underlined that for a long time, the UN kept trying to organize a meeting of the ’Middle East Quartet’, which includes Russia, the USA, the EU, and the UN. However, as António Guterres noted, there was no agreement of all the members of the group. In his opinion, given the recent change of the US administration — the current conditions are fitting for a meeting on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement. «I think that now it has become possible. You can be sure that we will do our best to organize the resumption of the peace process, which should be based on a two-state solution, and all existing international agreements» — Antonio Guterres concluded.
5 Turkey — Iran
The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated during a press conference with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, that the Turkish authorities plan to expand the cooperation on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict to the «3 + 3» format. The format will include Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Georgia and Turkey. The press conference was broadcast by the ’NTV’. Mevlut Cavusoglu added that «it is necessary to achieve a permanent ceasefire by expanding the cooperation. Peace and stability in this region is in the interests of everyone. To the greatest extent it will be beneficial for Armenia and its people. We expect constructive steps from Armenia in this direction» — Mevlut Cavusoglu concluded. Earlier, the leaders of Azerbaijan and Turkey, Ilham Aliyev and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came up with an initiative for a 6-way format of cooperation on Karabakh. Iran welcomed that idea and announced their readiness to assist the peace in the region.
The EU Foreign Service has announced that the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, will visit Moscow from 4th till 6th of February. During the visit he plans to discuss with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, the two-sided relations, the fight against the pandemic, the Iranian nuclear deal, the conflict in Ukraine, and the arrest of Alexei Navalny. It will be the first visit of a high EU representative to Russia since 2017. The statement underlined that «the visit will provide an opportunity for the broad discussions with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and with other such Russian interlocutors ahead of the European Council’s planned strategic discussion on the EU-Russian relations, in March». Constantine Reztsov, specially for the ’ANNA NEWS’.