4-nation meeting stresses immediate need for direct talks
KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States in their first quadrilateral meeting on Monday reiterated the commitment to realising objectives expressed at meetings on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad in December.
The meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCC) was opened by Adviser to the Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.
Sartaj Aziz told the four-nation talks, aimed to outline efficient procedures, would provide a basis for smooth functioning of the group. He emphasised the importance of not attaching pre-conditions to start of the negotiating process.
"Threat of use of military action against irreconcilables cannot proceed the offer of talks to all the groups and their response to such offers." Sartaj warned against prematurely deciding which Taliban factions are ready to talk.
The joint statement after the meeting said they agreed to build on the outcome of December 9 trilateral and quadrilateral meetings in Islamabad and they considered mutual efforts to facilitate “an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process” with a view to achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.
It said all the four countries underscored the importance of bringing an end to the conflict in Afghanistan “that continues to inflict senseless violence on the Afghan people and also breeds insecurity throughout the region.”
The participants emphasized the immediate need for direct talks between representatives of the Government of Afghanistan and representatives from Taliban groups in a peace process that aims to preserve Afghanistan’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The discussions focused on undertaking a clear and realistic assessment of the opportunities for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, anticipated obstacles and measures that would help create conducive environment for commencement of peace talks, with the shared goal of reducing violence and establishing lasting peace in Afghanistan.
The meeting adopted terms for the work of the QCG and agreed to continue regular meetings to advance the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. The group would hold discussion on a roadmap at its next meeting to be held on 18 January 2016 in Kabul.
The delegations were led by Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard G. Olson and China’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan Ambassador Deng Xijun.
Pakistan was expected to present a list of Taliban representatives willing to negotiate with Kabul at the meeting, but Sartaj Aziz refused whether Pakistan possessed such a list.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.