Progress on roadmap towards reviving Afghan peace talks
The delegations were led by Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, US Ambassador to Afghanistan Michael McKinley and China’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan Ambassador Deng Xijun.
The meeting asked all Taliban groups to join the peace talks to resolve the conflict in accordance with the will and aspirations of the entire Afghan nation and the desire and support of the QCG member countries for lasting peace in Afghanistan.
According to a joint statement, the participants of the QCG once again emphasized the need for an end to the senseless violence against the Afghan people.
The QCG countries agreed that all forms of terrorism presented a grave threat to countries, the region and the world. The members indicated their commitment to a robust effort to eliminate all forms of terrorist groups, regardless of their national origin, operating in their respective territories.
They agreed that friendly, mutually respectful and cooperative relations between the member states of QCG were necessary to create an enabling environment for the peace process in Afghanistan, which would help ensure security, stability, prosperity, and interests of the region.
The QCG agreed to continue regular meetings to advance the Peace and Reconciliation process in Afghanistan. The group will hold its next meeting on February 6, 2016 in Islamabad.
The group discussed and made progress on a roadmap towards initiating peace talks with Taliban groups that reflects the shared commitments of the QCG member countries.
The roadmap aims to set specific measures that are necessary for creating a conducive environment for the commencement of Afghan led, Afghan owned peace talks aimed at reduction of violence and establishing lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region.
Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, who inaugurated the meeting, said the talks would largely focus on preparing a roadmap for peace and Afghanistan would declare its stance in this regard.
He said the Afghan government considered cooperation of the four nations, particularly of Pakistan, as very importance for strengthening the Afghan peace process.
He said the Pakistani leadership had this time insisted on its cooperation and facilitating the peace talks, something that had encouraged Afghanistan.
He said peace was every Afghan’s desire, but peace needed regional cooperation, especially of Pakistan, a country not safe from violence and terrorism.
Rabbani said not appearing for peace talks would increase people’s hatred for the Taliban, who if missed the chance would prove they were not interested in a prosperous, peaceful and stable Afghanistan and their aim was only destruction and bloodshed.
He said the Afghan government was ready to enter talks with Taliban groups to reach a peace that respected the country’s law and achievements of the past 14 years, including women’s rights.
Rabbani said the Afghan government and people were confident that the participation of the US and China would help begin an effective peace process which would produce positive results.
On Monday, Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah told a Cabinet meeting that the Afghan government hoped the participating nations would honestly cooperate in reaching a lasting peace in Afghanistan.
He said the Afghan government and Afghanistan allies would never cut deals with Daesh or Islamic State and ongoing operations in Nangarhar province showed the government was committed to eliminating the group.
During the first four-way talks in Islamabad on January 11, the participants had reiterated their commitment to realising the objectives identified in talks on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia Conference.
Javed Faisal, deputy spokesman for the Chief Executive Office, said: “We are waiting for the outcome of the meeting. A positive result will send a good message to the Afghan people.”
But if the talks did not produce the desired result, he suggested, the strategy for peace talks would be changed.
The first round of face-to-face talks between the Afghan government and Taliban was held in Pakistan’s northwestern tourist resort of Murree in July last year. Observers from the US and China were also in attendance.
The second round was scheduled to be held in China or Pakistan on July 30, 2015 but it was suspended after the disclosure of the death of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.
On Sunday, the High Peace Council (HPC) expressed optimism about the meeting and said there had been a considerable change in Pakistan's policy towards Afghanistan.
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