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President says peace talks may resume in coming weeks

President says peace talks may resume in coming weeks

Dec 11, 2015 - 22:03

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): President Mohammad Ghani on Friday indicated peace talks between his government and the Talibaninfo-icon would begin within weeks.

Ghani expressed hoped at a crowded news conference at his office on the outcome of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, which concluded in Islamabad on Wednesday.

The two-day regional conference was attended by 14 foreign ministers and 11 representatives of international and regional.

Ghani said he had trilateral and quadrilateral meetings with Pakistani, American and Chinese officials on the margins of the event. Participants had pledged support for the resumption of the peace process, he added.

The trilateral meeting featured Ghani, Pakistaninfo-icon Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Chinese foreign minister. The four-way talks were held among the president, Sharif and ministers from the US and China.

“The US and China have pledged continued support for the peace process. And with their cooperation, we can evolve a clear framework for peace talks in line with the constitution,” he hoped.

Ghani vowed an end to the blame game with neighbouring Pakistan so as to make the reconciliation effort a success. Islamabad has assure him of beginning practical work in this regard in coming weeks.

Taliban factions were pulling in different directions, he said of bitter differences within the insurgent movement. However, the government will differentiate between those who are open to peace parleys and the ones who are intent on fighting.

Ghani claimed the participants of the meetings had agreed on conducting joint operations against those refusing to lay down their weapons. The issue of Haqqani networkinfo-icon’s activities against Afghanistaninfo-icon was shared with Pakistan.

“I’ll embrace those who favour peace, but those working in the interest of others should know they will face a strong response,” Ghani observed, seeking support from regional countries, particularly Pakistan, for countering anti-peace elements.

He said: “This time around, we are cautiously hopeful. We will remain engaged in complicated issues that could not be resolved in a day. Neither we should fully trust nor distrust; we should be moderate.”

The president explained on the road to reconciliation, there could be ups and downs, but without peace, Afghanistan’s fundamental interests might be imperiled.

He said whenever an issue became complicated between states, it needed more time to be time to be addressed. “The participation of worldinfo-icon powers in negotiation with Pakistan has been a demands of Afghans.”

“We have repeatedly said Pakistan has been in an undeclared war with us for the past 14 years; we have fundamental issues that need to be addressed with the acceptance of Afghanistan’s sovereignty, constitution and legitimacy of the government in clear words. This is mentioned in the joint declaration” he maintained.

Building confidence between the two nations for combating terrorism was a key element to end the undeclared war, he continued.

He said work on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project was scheduled to be launched on Sunday. Tajikistan has made great efforts for strengthening Afghanistan’s economy, he acknowledged.

Answering a question on whether it was easy to trust Pakistan with regard to the peace process and stability in Afghanistan, Ghani said complete trust or complete distrust was not in Kabul’s interest.

The Taliban attacks on the Kandahar airport showed the Afghans were still the victims of terror, he said. The international community had realised the reality and was committed to cooperation with Afghanistan, the president said.

Ghani linked the warm welcome he received in Pakistan to the sacrifices rendered by the Afghan forces in the war against terror. He said 40 countries had agreed on a joint counter-insurgency framework.



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