Serbian Parliament Speaker Ivica Dacic told Belgrade daily Blic on Thursday that traces of explosive were found on one of the chairs used by the Taliban who came to Belgrade to negotiate in secret with the Afghan government.
Dacic said that the talks took place at the same time that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was in Belgrade, adding that the traces of explosive were discovered during a detailed security sweep by a sniffer dog.
The chair was taken away to be examined. “They found gunpowder residue or traces of explosive on the chair where one of the Taliban negotiators had been sitting. That means that they came to the talks straight from the front line,” the former Serbian Foreign Minister said.
According to Dacic, the negotiations were kept secret from the public but the international community was aware of them and some Western diplomats were present. He did not specify whether Lavrov knew of the meetings.
“Serbia was not involved in the negotiations, we just hosted them and all sides were happy with our role. Those talks continued later in other countries,” he said.
Dacic also said that the Afghan Council for Peace contacted the Serbian East-West Bridge branch headed by Jovan Kovacic because they wanted to hold the meetings in Serbia which is neither East nor West.
“They only wanted discretion, no leaks to the media. We respected that. They were here three times and nothing leaked out,” he said.
Two days ago, Dacic had said that he personally hosted the Taliban delegation, as well as that the then President of Afghanistan was on video link, stating that the atmosphere surrounding the talks was pleasant. “Everyone’s assessment was that progress had been made at that time, and a truce had been declared,” he said.
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