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Taliban attends peace talks in Moscow for first time, no progress reported

MOSCOW: Taliban officials attended a diplomatic conference in Russia for the first time on Friday, but reaffirmed their stance that they would only hold direct talks on Afghanistan’s future with the United States, not with the Kabul government. The one-day conference underscored Moscow’s eagerness to play a role in the Afghan peace process but the Kabul government did not send a delegation. Instead, members of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, a body which oversees peace efforts but does not represent the government,…

Confident Pompeo makes Middle East diplomatic debut

RIYADH: Washington's newly appointed secretary of state landed in Riyadh Saturday on a tour of America's key Middle East allies, after vowing to bring some "swagger" back to US diplomacy. Mike Pompeo touched down in Saudi Arabia shortly after authorities in the kingdom said they had intercepted four missiles fired at the south of the country by Yemeni rebels, underlining the tensions in the region. The Saudi Arabian capital is the first stop on a three-day trip that will also take him to Israel and Jordan to update…