Joint Statement on Extended “Troika” on Peaceful Settlement in Afghanistan

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, Russia, China, and Pakistan on the occasion of the Extended “Troika” on Peaceful Settlement in Afghanistan.

Begin Text:

On March 18, 2021, Moscow hosted a regular meeting of the extended “Troika” comprising representatives of Russia, China, the United States, and Pakistan, which focused on making progress in the intra-Afghan process to reach a negotiated settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. The event was attended by representatives of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, prominent Afghan political figures, and representatives of the Taliban movement, as well as Qatar and Turkey as guests of honor.

In the spirit of the discussions, as well as provisions of joint statements on the outcomes of previous “Troika” meetings held on March 22, April 25, July 11, and October 25, 2019, and online conferences held on June 3 and November 30, 2020, the four states participating in the extended “Troika” have agreed as follows:

  1. We acknowledge the widespread and sincere demand of the Afghan people for a lasting and just peace and an end to the war and confirm that a sustainable peace can only be achieved through a negotiated political settlement.
  2. We call on all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan to reduce the level of violence in the country and on the Taliban not to pursue a Spring offensive, so as to avoid further casualties and to create an environment conducive to reaching a negotiated political settlement.
  3. As stated in the UNSC resolution 2513 (2020), we do not support the restoration of the Islamic Emirate and we call on the Government of the Islamic Republic and the High Council for National Reconciliation to engage openly with their Taliban counterparts regarding a negotiated settlement.
  4. We urge participants in the intra-Afghan negotiations to engage immediately in discussions on fundamental issues to resolve the conflict, including the foundations of the future peaceful and stable Afghan state, the content of a political roadmap leading to an inclusive government, and the modalities of a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. At this pivotal moment, our four states call on the parties to negotiate and conclude a peace agreement that will bring an end to over four decades of war in Afghanistan.
  5. We strongly advocate a durable and just political resolution that will result in the formation of an independent, sovereign, unified, peaceful, democratic, and self-sufficient Afghanistan, free of terrorism and an illicit drug industry, which contributes to the creation of pull factors for the voluntary, sustainable, and expeditious return of Afghan refugees; stability; and global security.
  6. We call on all Afghans including the Government of the Islamic Republic and the Taliban to ensure that terrorist groups and individuals do not use Afghan soil to threaten the security of any other country.
  7. We reaffirm that any peace agreement must include protections for the rights of all Afghans, including women, men, children, victims of war, and minorities, and should respond to the strong desire of all Afghans for economic, social and political development including the rule of law.
  8. We encourage all concerned countries to support the Afghan people and contribute to a lasting peace in the interest of all. We reaffirm our commitment to mobilize international political and economic support for a post-political settlement Afghanistan.
  9. We appreciate the long-standing support of the State of Qatar to facilitate the peace process, and we support the continuation of discussions between the parties’ negotiating teams in Doha, which began in September 2020 and which have resulted in meaningful progress toward a political settlement.
  10. We recognize and welcome all international efforts that are underway to facilitate and support a negotiated settlement as soon as possible. We note that the UN Secretary General Guterres’ appointment of Mr. Jean Arnault as his personal envoy on Afghanistan and regional issues. We welcome the UN playing a positive and constructive role on the Afghan peace and reconciliation process.

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    The Small Business Administration (SBA) develops its subsidy cost estimates for the 7(a) loan guarantee program—that is, estimates of the program's net long-term cost to the government—using a cash flow model. The model uses historical data, econometric equations, and macroeconomic projections to estimate cash flows—such as guarantee fees, SBA purchases of defaulted loans, and recoveries on those loans—for the loans SBA expects to guarantee in the next fiscal year. The net present value of the cash flows (value in current dollars) is the subsidy cost estimate. SBA generally incorporated key elements of subsidy cost estimation into its estimates for the 7(a) program for the fiscal year 2020 budget. Specifically, GAO found that SBA's estimation process was largely consistent with eight key elements GAO previously identified that help ensure subsidy estimates are supported, reliable, and reasonable. For example, SBA generally validated historical data, documented the cash flow model and key assumptions, analyzed the sensitivity of estimates to alternative assumptions, and had documented policies and procedures. SBA made changes in its estimation process that collectively increased the 7(a) program's subsidy cost to $99 million for fiscal year 2020 (a 0.33 percent subsidy rate when expressed as the cost per dollar of credit assistance) from $0 for fiscal year 2019 (0 percent subsidy rate). Some of these changes were routine updates to data and economic assumptions used in the cash flow model, while others were revisions to the estimation process. Additionally, some individual changes increased the subsidy costs, while others decreased it. Some of the changes that had the largest impact on the subsidy rate included the following: Incorporating the President's economic assumptions for fiscal year 2020 decreased the rate by 0.27 percentage points. Updating the basis for the size and composition of the loan cohort SBA expected to guarantee in fiscal year 2020 increased the rate by 0.21 percentage points. Revising the methodology for estimating purchase amounts for defaulted loans to better reflect the outstanding loan balance at the time of purchase increased the rate by 0.21 percentage points. The 7(a) program is SBA's largest loan guarantee program for small businesses, with about $95 billion in outstanding loan principal as of the end of fiscal year 2019. Federal agencies that provide credit assistance are generally required to estimate the net long-term cost to the government—known as the subsidy cost—for each annual cohort of loans. SBA initially estimated a zero subsidy cost for each cohort from fiscal years 2014 through 2019, but estimated that the fiscal year 2020 cohort would have a positive subsidy cost and require appropriations. GAO was asked to evaluate SBA's subsidy estimation process for the 7(a) program. This report examines (1) how SBA estimates 7(a) subsidy costs, (2) the extent to which SBA incorporated key elements of subsidy cost estimation into its estimation process for the fiscal year 2020 budget, and (3) the changes SBA made in its estimation process for the fiscal year 2020 budget. GAO reviewed SBA documentation on its estimation process, including information on SBA's cash flow model, and compared SBA's process to key elements that GAO previously identified ( GAO-16-269 ). GAO also interviewed officials from SBA, the Office of Management and Budget, and outside auditors and contractors that annually review SBA's process and model. For more information, contact William B. Shear at (202) 512-8678 or shearw@gao.gov.
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