Talks with govt on 3 controversial points still ongoing: HIA
KABUL (Pajhwok): Terming ups and downs in peace process as a natural phenomenon, the Hekmatyar-led Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) top peace negotiator on Tuesday said discussions on three controversial points were still ongoing with the Afghan government.
Peace talks between the government and the HIA have been taking place over the past nearly three months and the High Peace Council and the HIA have also signed a draft peace agreement, rising hopes for an early conclusion of the peace parlays.
But it did not happen and the peace talks between the two sides are yet to end. Haqpal, a member of the HIA, published an opinion on the group’s webpage “Shahadat.” From the article, many readers assumed that the HIA-government peace talks had faltered and at least hit a snag.
When Pajhwok Afghan News asked HIA top negotiator Eng. Mohammad Amin Karim, he said the article in Shahadat was the author’s personal view. He said the website published options on various topics but that did not necessary reflect the party’s policy.
He said the HIA issued its official statements through the party spokesman. About the peace talks with the government, Karim said their talks with the government were ongoing. He said they experienced some ups and downs in the talks, which were natural, but talks on three controversial points were in place.
He said in the draft deal’s fourth article, the government had mentioned word “agreement” on the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and they accepted that word under pressure. He said they thought the “agreement” would be signed in future on how the foreigners would exit.
“But you can also interpret it that the “agreement” means what the Afghan government has previously signed with foreign countries. We want clarity on this in order to avoid any ambiguity in future.”
About the second contentious point, he said the government had mentioned “unity government” in the draft agreement. “But we have reached the conclusion that the opposition of the HIA is the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Every government whatever name you give it unity government or something else, it has a five-year mandate only and the Afghanistan government is forever.”
He said the word “unity government” should be changed with the “Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” as mentioned in the agreement title.
About the third controversial point, he said it was that what the government expected from the HIA. “Does the government want HIA to become part of the system? If yes, at which level?”
He said the HIA was an independent political organization and was against corruption, land-grabbing, plundering and those who reached power through connections not competition. He said the HIA wanted to fight against injustices.
“We will be happy if (CEO) Dr. Abdullah has 100 percent power, but we cannot tolerate a cruel, racist and plunderer to stay in the system. It is every countryman’s right to campaign against injustice and corruption.”
He said they had sought complete explanation from the government on the three points in order to know what the government was expecting from the HIA.
“In case of any differences in the agreement, withdrawal, no withdrawal of foreign forces, the inclusion and no inclusion of the HIA in the government, both leaders President Ashraf Ghani and HIA leader Gulbadin Hekmaryar will take a joint stance after consultation and this joint stance either be mentioned in the agreement or made a subsidiary part of it.”
He said they had not reached a final conclusion about the proposed agreement. He said the HIA had neither retreated from the peace agreement nor the party had put forward any new condition but their aim was to avoid ambiguity in future.
“If the government of Afghanistan gives positive response to our legitimate demands, the HIA can sign the peace agreement within 48 hours.”
He said the ball was now in the government’s court and the HIA could understand that elements, who had been opposed to peace in the past, now seriously wanted to scuttle the peace deal.
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