Hosting Oslo Talks Does Not Mean ‘Legitimization’ Of Taliban Rule, Norway Says

New Delhi: The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said hosting the three-day talks in Oslo between envoys and officials of Western countries with representatives of the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan does not mean it was a “legitimization” of the Islamic Emirate established by the Taliban.

In a statement, the ministry said it was important that the Afghans talked face-to-face about their views on the humanitarian situation, human rights and the country’s future, Tolo News reported.

Also part of the meetings were political leaders and other Afghans who represented media, women, and civil society.

Acting Islamic Emirate Minister of Foreign Affairs Amir Khan Muttaqi said the talks were important for the extension of their diplomatic relations with the world, according to the report.

Discussions during the summit were reportedly held behind closed doors, away from the presence of media.

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‘We Have Issued Clear Demands’

“Let me stress that facilitating talks such as these in no way represents a legitimization of the de facto authorities in Afghanistan. Nor does it represent any change in Norwegian policy. We know the Taliban will actively defend their own interests – and are seeking legitimacy. That is one of the reasons that I, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, did not meet with them,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt was quoted as saying in the statement.

She added: “We have issued clear demands, and now we must wait and see if they deliver on what they have said.”

Huitfeldt said any legitimization of the Taliban rule must come from the people of Afghanistan, as he emphasized that the Islamic Emirate should form an inclusive government so there is stability.

For the first time since taking power, she said, the Taliban had agreed to have an “in-depth political discussion with women activists and other opinion leaders in Afghan society”.

“Face to face, in a safe place, they were given a clear message: legitimacy must come from the Afghans themselves, and it requires reconciliation and a more inclusive form of government,” Huitfeldt said.

The Norway foreign minister said the meeting was also an opportunity to talk about Afghanistan’s dire humanitarian needs. “The meetings here in Oslo provided a good opportunity for Western countries such as Norway, France, the UK, Italy, Germany and the United States as well as the EU to make clear what they expect of the Taliban. If we are to help the population and prevent an even worse humanitarian crisis, we must have dialogue with the de facto authorities in the country,” the Tolo News report quoted her as saying.

Huitfeldt said human rights was one of the key topics discussed.

‘Want To Make Afghanistan An Economic Hub’

Amir Khan Muttaqi, meanwhile, said they had “good meetings” in Oslo.

“We have had good meetings with the Afghan sides. We also had good meetings with the envoys of the various European countries,” Tolo News quoted him as saying.

Muttaqi added: “We want to make Afghanistan an economic hub and we are trying to rescue Afghanistan from future problems.”

According to the report, he also met several Norwegian humanitarian organizations who he said pledged to continue providing assistance to the people of Afghanistan.