August 19, 2018 / 7:41 PM / 3 months ago

Pompeo says 'time for peace' as Afghanistan announces ceasefire with Taliban

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Singapore August 4, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is ready to support and facilitate direct peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday, welcoming a Muslim Eid holiday ceasefire announced by President Ashraf Ghani.

“The United States welcomes the announcement by the Afghan government of a ceasefire conditioned on Taliban participation,” Pompeo said in a statement. “This plan responds to the clear and continued call of the Afghan people for peace.”

He said Washington was ready to back direct negotiations between the government and militant movement. “There is no obstacles to talks. It is time for peace,” Pompeo said.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Peter Cooney

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