Praising Qatar’s role in Afghan peace process, Ambassador of Afghanistan to Qatar Abdul Hakim Dalili, yesterday hoped that Afghan peace talks would resume as Qatar has the ability and experience of resolving conflicts through mediation.
Addressing a press conference at the Embassy, Dalili said that US-Taliban talks failed due to continued acts of violence by the Taliban. “Peace in Afghanistan can be established if the Taliban observe ceasefire and have direct dialogue with elected government of Afghanistan.”
The Ambassador appreciated Qatar for its efforts to ‘resolve crisis in Afghanistan on humanitarian grounds’. “Qatar has had successful experiences in this field (mediation) in a number of countries, including Sudan and Lebanon.”
“We thank Qatar for giving the Taliban an opportunity to come to Doha, hosting their political office since 2013 and engaging them for dialogue with the United States to solve Afghanistan’s problems.”
Regarding a report published by Al Arabiya media outlet attributing some statements to the spokesman of the President of Afghanistan, the Ambassador said that it was not true. “Such lies will not affect the Qatari-Afghan relations. We have strong ties between the two governments and the two peoples.”
To a question, he said that Qatar is always keen to find solution for Afghan crisis and has no other agendas except to achieve peace which is positive.
He said that the US-Taliban negotiations were underway and an agreement was supposed to be reached between the two sides after which the Afghan-Afghan negotiation had to begin which was the most important and key phase to solve the problm. “Suddenly, the United States President announced the cancellation of the talks with the Taliban and the reasons were clear.”
Replying to another question about the reason behind the collapse of US-Taliban talks, he said: “The problem in the dialogue was the fact that they left the ceasefire issue to Afghan-Afghan negotiations and we always insisted on the ceasefire and this was a gap in the agreement, in my opinion.”
“As a government, we hope both sides will restart the negotiations because the problem cannot be solved except by dialogue and sitting together on the negotiation table.”
The Ambassador noted that the main obstacle to achieve peace in Afghanistan was the Taliban’s keenness to continue fighting and not sitting directly with the Afghan government for dialogue. “We encourage them to renounce violence and announce ceasefire because the government represents everyone and the nation can accommodate everyone.”
Regarding challenges in Afghan peace negotiations, he said the Afghan government had made all concessions to the Taliban and even offered to open offices for the Taliban inside the country in exchange of end of war and complete ceasefire by the Taliban.
He said that for fruitful peace talks, there should be a complete ceasefire which is very important. “Our (Afghan government) presence (in the dialogue) is very important because on the ground there is an elected and legitimate government representing the people to convey their will.”
On failed US-Taliban talks, the Ambassador said that both parties announced that they were very close to an agreement but Afghan government had fears about the loopholes in the deal which could cause its collapse and bring all back to the beginning point.
“As we expected, the agreement failed. US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad was in Kabul and the Taliban carried suicide bombing killing innocent people and destroying surrounding properties.”
He said that the attack by the Taliban was against the spirit of agreement. “The talks were aimed at reaching a peace deal and at the same time the Taliban were carrying out armed attacks to gain leverage on the negotiation table therefore the agreement was rejected.”
He said that the US President also went through the draft agreement and found loopholes therefore he cancelled the agreement.
Reiterating Afghan government stance, the Ambassador said: “There was only way to end the war: Taliban’s direct talks with Afghan government without any conditions and giving up the violence and observing ceasefire.”
“No one can gain from the war as it brings destruction. We announce once again that we are ready to sit with them directly but two things they should comply with: ceasefire and sit directly with the government. This is because Afghan government is the only entity which represents the Afghan people.”
He said that the Taliban could hold talks with any party but the main party and representative was the Afghan government.
To another question, he said Afghanistan could make great achievements in environment of peace. “We can explore and utilise our resources and manpower in a better way for more development of the country. War destroyed the resources and for sure it affected Afghan people and slowed development pace. War is hindrance in the way of development and there are many negative impacts of the war on the country.”
He said that Afghanistan is full of resources and according to a survey conducted by an America company, there are about three to four trillion dollars worth minerals including rare ones like lithium which is called ‘future energy’.
To another question, Abdul Hakim Dalili said that he had met with Minister of Foreign Affairs’ Special Envoy for Counterterrorism and Mediation in Conflict Resolution H E Dr. Mutlaq bin Majid Al Qahtani after US President Trump announced cancellation of talks with the Taliban.
“We are on the same page. Our stands are same. We are optimistic. We will work together to remove these hindrances and go ahead to achieve the common goal (of establishing peace in Afghanistan).”
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