AFGHANISTAN. Herat: On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that an UN-led meeting on Afghan peace “is planned to be held in Istanbul in April. He added that Turkey was one of the few countries invited to the ceremony and has been one of the important roleplayers in Afghanistan.
“Both the Taliban and the negotiation delegation, meaning the government side, had asked us to host such a meeting before,” the Turkish minister said as quoted in a report by Anadolu Agency.
“We will do this (meeting) in coordination with brotherly Qatar,” adding that the meeting in the Turkish capital Ankara will not be an alternative to the Qatar process but a supporting one.
He emphasized that Turkey would also appoint a special envoy to the Afghanistan peace process.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Former President Hamid Karzai said that the US draft for a deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban is the best chance to accelerate stalled peace talks.
Karzai added that Afghans themselves “are in a hurry for peace”.
“Peace is such a deep, deep, deeply desired wish of the Afghan people,” said Karzai as quoted by the Associated Press. “You can’t imagine how much of a hurry we are in to reach peace for us and our younger ones.”
UN and US-led meeting
The conference was planned by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his letters to President Ashraf Ghani and the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, which leaked by Afghan media.
In the letter, he presented future suggestions to the Afghan government to accelerate the peace process, including convening an UN-led conference with international allies, 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.
Blinken encouraged Afghan leaders to consider a “new, inclusive government” and proposed that talks take place within weeks in Turkey to seal a peace deal with the Taliban. However, the First Vice President of Afghanistan and other senior politicians rejected the proposal, calling it a “Coerced message”.
Meanwhile, Blinken noted in his letter to Ghani that the United States is considering all options regarding Afghanistan, including the May 1 deadline for full withdrawal.
Russia hosts a meeting for Afghan parties
Amid the efforts for holding a Turkey meeting, the Afghan officials on Tuesday confirmed that Russia is planning to host a meeting on the Afghan peace process aimed at accelerating Afghanistan’s peace talks in Doha, within the next 9 days and that it will invite key political leaders for the event, including the Chairman of the High Council for the National Reconciliation, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah.
Other senior Afghan politicians, including President Ghani, as well as foreign envoys and the Taliban representatives, are expected to attend the meeting in Moscow on March 18 to discuss the Afghan peace process, the reconciliation council’s spokesman Fraidoon Khwazoon said.