Russia says it and others ready to mediate in Afghanistan

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference in Moscow
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia, China, the United States and Pakistan are interested in serving as mediators in resolving the crisis in Afghanistan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

"We remain committed to the task of establishing peace and stability on Afghanistan's territory so that it poses no threats to the region," Lavrov said.

Lavrov also said Russia opposed the idea of allowing Afghan refugees enter Central Asia, the former Soviet region that lies between Russia and Afghanistan, or having U.S. troops there.

"If you think that any country in Central Asia or elsewhere is interested in becoming a target so that the Americans could fulfil their initiatives, I really doubt anyone needs that," he told a briefing during a visit to Hungary.

Russia maintains close ties with Central Asia's former Soviet republics and regards the region as part of its sphere of interest.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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