Beijing meeting stresses Afghan-led peace talks

By: Lailuma Noori

Representatives of US, China, Russia and Pakistan in consultation meeting on Afghanistan peace process have stressed on the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process. US special peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has said he met with representatives of Russia, China and Pakistan on Afghanistan peace on Wednesday and Thursday in Beijing.
Khalilzad said in a tweet on Friday that they agreed “intra-Afghan negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and other Afghans should start immediately; that these negotiations should produce a peace framework as soon as possible; and detail a future inclusive political arrangement acceptable to all Afghans.”
“We also agreed that violence needs to slow now and a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire should start with intra-Afghan negotiations,” Khalilzad tweeted. “We agreed we will expand and ask more international partners to join with the start of negotiations. Very positive.”
Participants in the meeting asked the warring sides in Afghanistan to make use of the opportunity for maintaining peace in the country. They agreed on key issues including an immediate start of the intra-Afghan negotiations which will also involve the Afghan government and the Taliban.
The US Department of State said in a statement that Pakistan appreciated the constructive efforts by the China-Russia-US trilateral consultation on the Afghan peace process.
The four sides exchanged views on the current situation and joint efforts for realizing a political settlement to advance peace, stability, and prosperity of Afghanistan and the region, the statement said. The four sides emphasized the importance of the trilateral consensus on the Afghan peace process reached in Moscow on April 25, 2019.
All sides welcomed recent positive progress as the crucial parties concerned have advanced their talks and increased contacts with each other. All sides also welcomed intra-Afghan meetings held in Moscow and Doha. The four sides called for relevant parties to grasp the opportunity for peace and immediately start intra-Afghan negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and other Afghans.
“They re-affirmed negotiations should be “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” and further agreed that these negotiations should produce a peace framework as soon as possible,” the statement said.
“This framework should guarantee the orderly and responsible transition of the security situation and detail an agreement on a future inclusive political arrangement acceptable to all Afghans.”
The four sides encouraged all parties to take steps to reduce violence leading to a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire that starts with intra-Afghan negotiations. The four sides agreed to maintain the momentum of consultation, will invite other important stakeholders to join on the basis of the trilateral consensus agreed on April 25 in Moscow, and this broader group will meet when intra-Afghan negotiations start. The statement concluded that the date and venue for the next consultation will be agreed upon through diplomatic channels.
Another positive characteristic of the meeting was the mediation of China and US as both countries as two super powers can play constructive and effective role in Afghanistan peace process. With close cooperation of the mediators and in consideration to common interests in economic sector between the two countries, we can reach considerable achievements towards peace.
Works that should have been done have been done as President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has prioritized the issue of peace and security, paid a visit to Islamabad and held talks with Pakistani officials as well as received delegations from Islamabad to discuss Afghanistan peace process.It is worth mentioning that peace efforts have been accelerated in national and international level to end the ongoing war in Afghanistan, but the only way for reaching peace and breaking the deadlock is the starting of direct talks between Afghanistan government and Taliban group.

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