Afghans welcome int’l support for intra-Afghan talks

The US, China, Russia and Pakistan have jointly urged the Taliban to immediately agree to a ceasefire and begin direct negotiations with the Afghanistan government to end the 18-year violence in the war-torn country.
In a joint statement, issued last Friday following the conclusion of a meeting on the Afghan peace process held in Beijing on July 10-11, they re-affirmed that the negotiations should be “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” and produce a peace framework as soon as possible.
“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,” it said.
The US, Russia, China and Pakistan have asked relevant parties to grasp the opportunity for peace and start immediately the intra-Afghan negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghanistan government and other Afghans, the statement said.
Pakistan for the first time joined the US, Russia and China’s trilateral consultations on the Afghanistan peace process. Welcoming Pakistan in joining the consultation, the statement said, “They believe that Pakistan can play an important role in facilitating peace in Afghanistan.”
As regional and international efforts intensified for peace in Afghanistan, ensuring national ownership has gained a central role in the country and international circles. National ownership of the talks can further open the door for peace in Afghanistan. The success of peace talks depend on aligning such efforts with those led by the Afghan people and government.
Such alignment helps Afghans to ensure the leadership and ownership of the process and thereby achieve a sustainable political settlement with the Taliban. To ensure such ownership, the peace talks shall be open and transparent to encourage the involvement and ownership of all Afghan stakeholders.
The US and international community, and regional stakeholders shall stress the imperative need for the Taliban to directly talk with the Government and the emphasis on the centrality of Afghan people and government in the peace process as an essential element and inclusive part of the process. 
The international community has an extremely important role to play in this respect. Not only it is imperative for donor countries to voice their continued financial support for both the country’s development and military assistance to the Afghan armed forces, but all countries with an interest in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan need to demonstrate their unwavering, yet critical, support for a negotiated peace process.
Afghan peace talks have entered to a critical phase. While direct talks between the United States and the Taliban have further opened the door for peace in Afghanistan, the success of these talks depend how much the Afghan people and government will be involved in the process and have the ownership of the talks.
Afghans welcome regional and international support for the peace in the war-hit country but asking international support during and after the peace process, as well as their key role in post conflict to oversee the implementation of the peace deal and guarantee that the warring parties to implement their commitments that will be made in a possible agreement.

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