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Ghani invites Taliban supreme leader for direct talks

Ghani invites Taliban supreme leader for direct talks

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On
Jun 19, 2018 - 21:16

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Welcoming peace activists from southern Helmand province upon arriving in Kabul, President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday invited the Talibaninfo-icon supreme leader, Mullahinfo-icon Haibatullah, for direct talks with him and offered a year-long ceasefire.

The peace activists from Helmand embarked on their foot journey 38 days ago and after walking for about 700 kilometers through various provinces reached Kabul yesterday.

They were warmly welcomed by local residents and female civil societyinfo-icon activists and President Ghani called them “real voice of the nation”.

“I am thankful to you, you walked for 700 km, you are the real voice of the people. You represent no side --- government or Taliban --- but represent the entire country.”

In response to recommendations from the peace convoy participants, the president said he had declared unilateral ceasefire and if the Taliban accepted, he was ready to announce a year-long ceasefire.

Addressing the Taliban, Ghani said: “They should come, if they want talks to be held in a desert..mountain, mosqueinfo-icon everywhere, I am ready to arrive there, it is our country, why should we go elsewhere to sit and talk.”

The president said: “If you want address, I am your address. Who want to sit with me? If Maulviinfo-icon Haibatullah wants, he may come for talks without any conditions. It is my proposal if he (Mualvi Haibatullah) is ready to hold talks with me and (Chief Executive Officer Abdullah) Abdullah, he should give us address, my address is the Presidential Palace.”

About his pre-Eid ceasefire which was later extended by another 10 days, President Ghani said the lull in the conflict showed the nation was tired of the war and wanted to live in peace.

“If you can agree to three-day ceasefire why not to a year-long,” the president asked the Taliban and invited the rebels to intra-Afghan dialogue.

“In the security transition process (before 2014), we expelled 100,000 foreign troops, expelling the remaining few thousands is not a difficult job,” remarked Ghani in response Taliban’s popular demand of foreign troops’ complete withdrawal from Afghanistaninfo-icon.

The president asked the people of Afghanistan, the Taliban and the government to sit together and resolve huge problems the country faced.

“There is the will for peace, come and pave the ground for it, the nation has consensus on peace which should be agreed upon.”

Ghani said he came to power with people’s vote not through the use of power and urged the Taliban to contest the upcoming elections.

The president asked the peace activists from Helmand province to demand answers from the Taliban about their proposals and share those answers with him in order to find a solution.

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