Govt. negotiating team to enter peace talks with clear mandate: President Ghani

By: The Kabul Times

KABUL: President Mohamad Ashraf Ghani met on Monday evening with the administrative board and committee heads of the Lower House of the Parliament at the Presidential Palace to continue his series of consultative meetings on peace with various classes and strata of the society, a statement from the presidential press office said.
Speaking on behalf of others, a number of MPs extended their congratulatory messages to President Ghani on his re-election for the second term in office and praised his endeavors for bringing peace to the country. They expressed optimism that accord and unity of the Afghan nation and adherence to the Constitution can bring sustainable peace to the country, referring to the beginning of the weeklong Significant Reduction in Violence period, the statement added.
They called for protecting the constitution, providing support for the Afghan forces, safeguarding the hard-earned gains of the last two decades, and preserving the rights of citizens, particularly women in the peace process, and said they expect that a fundamental part in the peace process be given to the National Assembly, according to the statement.
They also underscored the need to include all classes of society in the peace process and differentiate between friends and enemies, asserting that the survival, dignity and honor of the Afghan nation should be stressed as a principle in peace process.
First Vice President-elect Amrullah Saleh provided detailed information on peace-related meetings during the past one year as well as the preparations of the government of Afghanistan for the process. He said in addition to the full preparation for peace, the government’s military measures and precautions are in place and its civil capacities are proven, and the president continues to hold consultative meetings with various Afghan demographics and strata, the presidential statement added.
President Ashraf Ghani thanked the Lower House members for strengthening the republic and said, the electoral victory is indeed the victory of ‘republic’, terming it the only mandate the government should abide by. “Our responsibilities and authorities have been defined in the constitution,” said the president as quoted in the statement, while underscoring that no agreement will be enforced unless it is approved by both Houses of the Parliament.
The president said that the government negotiating team will enter into the negotiations with a clear mandate and underlined this is the first time that consultations on peace are held at local, rural, district, provincial and national level. The president underscored that the consultation will carry on and said peace is vital and is the main demand of our people, but we cannot close our eyes on governance and reforms, the statement quoted.
The president said Afghanistan has no permanent friends and enemies, but it definitely has permanent interests, so for us to secure our permanent interests, it requires planning and wisdom.
The president emphasized that the society and the government stand together and said grounds are prepared; we are proactive and attend the negotiations from a position of strength and never compromise on our defense and security forces.
The presidential statement quoted the president underscoring the need to identify and assess the possible risks and potential opportunities ahead in peace process and added, “We need to remain united and coherent and maintain our national stance. And as we are moving forward to achieve peace, we should strengthen our relations at regional level.”

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