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PublishDate: Sunday, March 14, 2021 16:02

Afghanistan Welcomes Turkey’s Hosting of New Peace Talks

Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar spoke with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and welcomed Turkey's hosting of the next round of Afghan peace talks, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said in a statement on Sunday.

Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_ praised 's_readiness to hold the next round of Afghan peace talks and said "it is expected to be a step forward in securing a ceasefire and reaching a political solution in accordance with the will of the Afghan people," the statement said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday said the -led_meeting on Afghan peace “is planned to be held in Istanbul in April.”

“We were one of the few countries invited to this signing ceremony, and we are one of the most important actors in Afghanistan,” the Turkish minister said as quoted in a report by Anadolu Agency.

The conference was proposed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a letter to President Ashraf Ghani that was seen by TOLOnews.

In the letter, Blinken puts forth suggestions to the Afghan government to accelerate the peace process, including convening a UN-facilitated conference with international stakeholders, proposals to facilitate discussion between the two sides to form a negotiated settlement and ceasefire, a meeting in Turkey between both sides to finalize a peace agreement, and a revised proposal for a 90-day reduction in violence.  

However, along with these proposals, Blinken made clear that the United States is considering all options regarding Afghanistan, including the May 1st deadline for full withdrawal.

This letter is reportedly similar to one shared with the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah.

Further, Blinken writes that even with the continuation of the US financial assistance to Afghan forces after an American withdrawal, he is "concerned that the security situation will worsen, and that the Taliban could make rapid territorial gains” and that he shares this so that President Ghani “understands the urgency of my tone regarding the collective work outlined in this letter."

UN ready to assist Afghan talks

Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary-general at a press briefing on Friday said that the United Nations is ready to help the parties in the Afghan conflict to achieve peace in the country.

“We stand ready to assist the parties as requested, our role must and will always be in support of the Afghan people and must be agreeable to the parties in the conflict,” he said.

When asked about regional diplomacy on the Afghan peace process, the UN official said that the UN secretary general has been in touch with various stakeholders, including the Americans, Russians, Qataris and Turkish officials.

“The secretary-general and others have been in touch with the Americans, the Russians, and the Qataris and the Turks and many other parties. We feel there is a positive momentum from the international community in terms of coordination and on moving forward on helping the Afghan parties find peace for the sake of the people of Afghanistan,” the UN spokesman said.

“We are continuing our discussions and we will do whatever we can to support and do what is requested of us within the framework I have already spoken about,” he added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday said the UN-led meeting on Afghan peace “is planned to be held in Istanbul in April.”

The Afghan government on Saturday said the Afghan government will participate in the UN-led conference in Turkey – proposed by the US – and the Moscow conference on Afghanistan’s peace.

Meanwhile, Russia has said that it is in favor of Afghanistan forming an interim government that includes members of the Taliban as new meetings are expected to be held on the Afghan in Turkey and in Moscow.

“The formation of an interim, inclusive administration would be a logical solution to the problem of integrating the Taliban into the peaceful political life of Afghanistan,” Russia’s WioNews reported on Friday, quoting Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

however, added that the decision should be made “by the Afghans themselves and should be resolved during negotiations on national reconciliation.”

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