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Peace Negotiating Team to Be Finalized Before Geneva Summit: HPC

The peace negotiating team will reportedly be made up of five or seven members, said the High Peace Council.

The High Peace Council (HPC) on Wednesday said that all necessary arrangements for the establishment of a peace negotiating team have been completed and that it will be finalized before the upcoming Geneva Conference on Afghanistan.

All necessary arrangements have been made on behalf of the government and the political parties to create the peace negotiating team and the plan will be finalized before the Geneva Conference, said the HPC.

Meanwhile, the CEO Abdullah Abdullah has warned against compromising the gains made by the country over the past seventeen years in the peace talks.

“At this stage we appreciate the efforts made by the US envoy and his team in mediating between Taliban and the Afghan government representatives. At the same time, our people have made big sacrifices for the achievements that I mentioned before including certain freedoms and liberties and their rights. These will not be compromised under any circumstances because it will not lead to sustainable peace,” said Abdullah.

He said that compromising on the gains for peace will not lead to the establishment of longstanding and durable peace in Afghanistan.

The peace negotiating team will be made up of five or seven members, said the peace council.

The Geneva Summit on Afghanistan will be convened next Tuesday.

“Negotiations with the Taliban must reach a conclusion before the elections, because we do not have sufficient time, the negotiating team must be created soon,” said HPC member Hajji Deen Mohammad.

The HPC said that President Ashraf Ghani has also formed the peace advisory board which has two members from each province and is aimed at coordinating peace related activities with the negotiators.

“If the peace negotiating team has got a question or faces an issue, then they consult the peace council and the people,” added Deen Mohammad.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad recently called for the establishment of an authorized peace negotiating body which will include representatives from the Afghan government, civil society and the political parties in order to expedite peace talks with the Taliban.

“Until now I have not seen Khalilzad and don’t know whom he has talked to and where he is going and who he wants to speak to. Three weeks ago, when he (Khalilzad) came here, he spoke only to those who do not have any kind of problem with the Taliban, but he reluctantly met those who had fought the Taliban in the battlefields and who have problems with the Taliban,” said Ahmad Wali Massoud, chairman Massoud Foundation.

“If the peace delegation is not introduced by the government, this will mean that this government is not sincere in what it claims,” said Musa Farivar, a political analyst.

According to some sources, Khalilzad will likely meet the Taliban once again in the near future.

[Source: Tolo News, Kabul, 21Nov18]

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