*Permanent ceasefire, framework for Afghan reconstruction top agenda
As part of the efforts to achieve sustainable peace in Afghanistan, Doha witnessed the launch of the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations on Saturday with representatives from the Afghan government, the Taliban and Afghan civil society taking part in the historic talks.
The inaugural session of the negotiations was attended by HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as the two parties to the negotiations represented by Abdullah Abdullah from the Afghan government and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar from the Taliban, in addition to several other officials.
Also virtually participating in the inaugural session of the Afghan Peace Negotiations were 14 foreign ministers and senior officials, including Ine Eriksen Soreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Wang Yi, State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of India, Retno Marsudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain, in addition to Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, and Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of Nato, who emphasised the importance of a comprehensive and honest dialogue to reach a political solution to the crises in Afghanistan.
Members of the Taliban delegation attend the opening session of the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha
Following the US-Taliban Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan signed in February in Doha, the start of direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban is a historic first step towards the resolution of a decades-long conflict.
Several goals for achieving peace in Afghanistan were discussed, including the road to a permanent ceasefire and a framework for Afghan reconstruction efforts.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said in his opening remarks: "History has taught us over and over that using military force can never resolve the conflict in Afghanistan. The only way to do so is through adopting an immediate and permanent ceasefire and paving the way for a constructive dialogue through negotiations to achieve a comprehensive political settlement across all spectrums in Afghanistan".
Negotiation teams are also participating in discussions surrounding Afghan women and civil society, the future of human rights protections and democracy in Afghanistan. Their commitment to discuss key substantive issues provides evidence that the country can continue to move closer to a political settlement for the safety and stability of future generations.
The cooperation of all parties and international partners has played an important role in the success of holding these negotiations, and Qatar will continue its role as an impartial and reliable international mediator to establish stability in the region.
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