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Khalilzad hopes for peace deal with Taliban before April 20

Khalilzad hopes for peace deal with Taliban before April 20

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Nov 18, 2018 - 19:22

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): US special envoy to Afghanistaninfo-icon Zalmay Khalilzad on Sunday hoped a peace deal would be reached with Talibaninfo-icon insurgents before Afghanistan’s presidential election on April 20 and said he remained ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the peace talks.

Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, Khalilzad said the end state of the talks would be "peace and a successful Afghanistan, one that doesn’t pose any threats to itself and to the international community".

The US envoy said he hopes the Taliban and other Afghans would use the presidential election date as a deadline for achieving a peace agreement.

However, he said it would not be appropriate and premature to speculate what the roadmap for peace would be because agreement on these issues would have to come from the Afghans.

“The first thing to do is to get delegations selected, start the process for dialogue and from that dialogue and negotiation would come a positive outcome which will have a roadmap for future.”

When asked about the establishment of an interim government in Kabul and delay the presidential election, Khalilzad said most important issue was peace, but the US would support effort for peace and preparations the presidential election

To a question about what topics he discussed with the Taliban in Qatar, the US envoy said: “My assignment is to help facilitate intra-Afghan dialogue, to achieve reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan. The US would like to achieve this objective which is very worthy goal. The Afghan people deserve peace and we would like to be partner in achieving this goal.”

Khalilzad said the Taliban also believed they could not succeed military and they would like problems to be resolved through political negotiations. “The US and the international community also want peace. I think there is an opportunity for reconciliation and peace as all interested parties want peace.”

“The root of the Afghan conflict is complex with internal and externalinfo-icon factors involved in the process. Peace still remains challenging but at this stage there is potential for peace in Afghanistan. All parties need to organize themselves to seize the potential opportunity for peace  and to put Afghanistan on the path of political settlement.”

When asked about the end state of the peace talks with the Taliban, Khalilzad said he envisaged a peaceful and successful Afghanistan. 

He said the Afghans including the Taliban need to sit and agree on a roadmap from current situations towards peaceful Afghanistan. “The US can facilitate and help the peace talks among Afghans but the negotiations on these issues should be conducted by Afghans.”

He asked the Kabul government to appoint an authoritative, inclusive delegation for moving the peace talks forward. “The Taliban already changed their team. The sooner Afghans sit together and engage in negotiations towards the vision that I already described the better.”

No date has been announced for another round of talks but Khalilzad said the Taliban "might bring additional changes to their team of negotiators."

nh/ma

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