Code 223434
PublishDate: Saturday, April 24, 2021 09:58

Trilateral Meeting Held in Turkey to Revive Stalled Afghan Talks

Foreign ministers from Afghanistan, Turkey and Pakistan held a meeting in Istanbul on Friday in an effort to revive the Afghan peace process days after a key UN-led conference was postponed due to non-participation of the Taliban.

Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey in a statement said that in their meeting, Turkish Foreign Minister üt_Çavuşoğlu, Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar, and Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi reiterated their commitment to support a peaceful, sovereign, independent, democratic and unified Afghanistan.

The three ministers recognized that sustainable peace can be achieved only through an inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process that aims for a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire along with an inclusive political settlement to end the conflict in Afghanistan.

They emphasized their support for the Afghanistan and the ongoing Afghanistan Peace Negotiations in Doha for the achievement of a just and durable political settlement.

The foreign ministers recognized the efforts of Turkey, Qatar and the UN to hold a high-level meeting in İstanbul aimed at giving momentum to the ongoing Afghanistan Peace Negotiations.

They recalled that the Istanbul Conference had been postponed after extensive discussions with all relevant parties with a view to holding the Conference when conditions for making meaningful progress would be more favorable, therefore called on all parties, in particular, the Taliban to reaffirm their commitment for achieving an inclusive negotiated settlement leading to lasting peace in Afghanistan desired by the Afghan people, the region and the international community.

The ministers condemned the ongoing high level of violence in Afghanistan, especially regretted the high number of civilian casualties and particularly condemned attacks targeting civil service employees, civil society activists, human rights defenders, journalists and media workers.

They emphasized the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire both to end the existing high level of violence and to provide a conducive atmosphere for the peace talks.

They recognized the importance of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) as a substantial platform that contributes to regional stability in fields ranging from political and security cooperation to economic integration.

The ministers reiterated their common resolve to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

They acknowledged the role of the regional and neighboring countries, in particular, Pakistan and Iran in hosting Afghan refugees for more than four decades and called for creating conducive conditions in Afghanistan for their voluntary, safe, dignified, expeditious and sustainable repatriation through a well-resourced plan,

The foreign ministers asked the international community to continue to assist host countries in taking care of the essential needs of Afghan refugees and to provide support to the repatriation and reintegration efforts of the Government of Afghanistan,

Recognizing the contribution of the Process to regional dialogue and cooperation, the ministers agreed on planning for the revitalization of the said Process in order to deepen bilateral as well as trilateral cooperation among the three countries to address common security threats and work on existing regional economic opportunities.

Sources close to the Taliban said the top leadership from the group continues their discussions about participation at the Turkey summit; however, these sources revealed that the Taliban leaders have so far not managed to reach a final conclusion about whether to attend the conference that has been scheduled for after -al-Fitr.

Analysts said that on top of the agenda for today’s talks in Turkey was to increase regional efforts for consensus around the peace process in Afghanistan.

“The main agenda of this meeting is focused on the resumption of peace talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban, further expansion of cooperation between these three countries and the role of Turkey and Pakistan around the peace process,” said political commentator Hamid Tahzib.

Expectations from Pakistan increase a day after reports surfaced in media that the Taliban’s chief negotiator Mawlavi Abdul Hakim has traveled to Pakistan from Doha to consult and seek guidance from the group’s leadership and find out whether the delay in the withdrawal of US forces will lead to a halt in the talks and Istanbul conference, or if there are other ways to proceed.

“If Pakistan is convinced and if Pakistan convinced the Taliban, these countries have got a major role to help convene this meeting (UN-led meeting),” said political analyst Assadullah Walwalji.

“This is a positive step. We hope that more steps are taken regarding this,” political analyst Sher Khosti said.

But, the Afghan government has said that the Taliban delegation has traveled to Pakistan to seek an order from Pakistan’s intelligence agency.

Referring to the trip, Afghanistan’s First Vice President Amrullah said that the Taliban’s delegation visited Pakistan to seek guidance from Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.

“Whenever there is a stalemate in the talks in , they (Taliban) say that we are going to consult our elders, in reality, 'elders' means that 'we are going to seek suggestions from the ISI and the {Pakistani} army,'” said Saleh.

“Now is the time for Pakistan to choose either a win-win policy or a lose-lose policy,” said President Ashraf Ghani during a trip to the southern Kandahar province.

Turkey's conference on Afghanistan was initially scheduled for April 24. But the talks posted following the Taliban’s denial.

The Taliban recently said the extension of US troops in the country was a reason for their non-participation at the Turkey conference.

The US, Turkey, Qatar and UN have reportedly attempted to convince the Taliban to attend the planned meeting in Turkey.

But the group has insisted that the US first needs to implement the Doha agreement before the start of the Istanbul conference, meaning that the US needs to honor its agreement signed under the Trump administration to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by May 1.

The Taliban reportedly asked the US on Tuesday to ensure the release of its prisoners and the removal of on the Taliban’s leaders in exchange for the participation of the group in the Turkey conference, sources close to the group have told TOLOnews.

The Afghan government on Tuesday said the list of a republic delegation for the conference has been finalized.

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