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Ceasefire high on agenda for next round of talks

Ceasefire high on agenda for next round of talks

Jul 22, 2015 - 19:46

KABUL (Pajhwok): Presidential advisor and member of the Afghan government peace delegation, Haji Din Mohammad, on Wednesday said more Taliban leaders were expected to attend the next round of peace negotiations.

Mohammad, a powerful tribal elder from eastern Nangarhar province, told Pajhwok Afghan News in an exclusive interview in Kabul that a ceasefire agreement would be high on the agenda for the next meeting between government and Taliban representatives.

Pakistan and China have reportedly show their willingness to be ‘guarantors’ for a peace deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Pakistan hosted the first direct peace talks between the two sides earlier this month in the presence of observers from the United States and China.

The second round of the peace talks is expected on July 30 in China, according to Pakistani media reports. Mohammad said trust building and resolving differences between the two parties were other major points. “We will mainly focus on how to build trust and end the war,” he added.

Removal of Taliban leaders’ names from the UN blacklist and release of their prisoners would also be included in the agenda, he said.

Peace was the cry of the day, no others but mothers wanted peace the most because they lost sons as soldiers and as Taliban fighters to the conflict, the presidential advisor said.

Mohammad said the next round of talks should have been planned in Kabul since it was a joint house of both the parties. But he said China might host the next dialogue, a venue for which will be finalised soon.

“(In the Murree talks), we asked the Taliban delegation if they had full authority and approval from their senior leadership, they confirmed they had it,” he said, referring to doubts expressed about non-participation of Taliban representatives from their Qatar office in the talks.

 “Our main goal and objective is to achieve peace and we are ready to talk and negotiate everywhere we are asked and we would never care of hear-say,” he said of the government’s strong desire for peace.

The former governor said the Taliban delegation had assured them their several other prominent leaders would participate in the second round of peace talks, admiring US and China’s efforts in advancing the Afghan reconciliation.

“We agreed to continue peace talks. We have a strong international support for the peace process and there exist regional and international consensus in this regard,” the tribal elder said.

“We are optimistic about reaching a decision with Gulbadin Hekmatyar since we are in contact with him through different channels for the last few years,” Din Mohammad said in response to a question about the Hezb-i-Islami’s stance on the peace process.

He also said the Afghan government had been in regular and close contact with Saudi Arabia and Qatar about the ongoing peace process. Qatar has assured complete support for the Afghan government on the peace process.


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