Peace in Afghanistan must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned: S Jaishankar
The UN Security Council on Friday welcomed the start of the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations in Doha and strongly encouraged the parties to continue pursuing confidence-building measures, including reduction in violence and to continue to engage in good faith.
In a statement, the 15-member powerful organ of the world body reaffirmed its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of war-torn Afghanistan.
"The members of the Security Council recognised that sustainable peace can be achieved only through a comprehensive and inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process that aims at a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire as well as an inclusive political settlement to end the conflict in Afghanistan,” it said.
They “strongly encouraged parties to the negotiations to continue pursuing confidence-building measures including reductions in violence and to continue to engage in good faith.”
The Council reaffirmed the importance of the UN’s role in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and welcomed the efforts of all regional and international partners of Afghanistan in facilitating intra-Afghan negotiations and in helping the parties reach peace.
The Security Council members also thanked the government of Qatar for facilitating the first round of negotiations.
The first-ever direct talks between the Afghan government representatives and the Taliban began on September 12.
Negotiators from the Afghan government and the Taliban will hold talks as part of intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had said the negotiations present “a major opportunity” to finally realise the “long-held aspirations” of the Afghan people for a peaceful future.
In a special video message as the historic negotiations got underway in Doha, Guterres had thanked the Qatari hosts for facilitating, and said the “consistent calls for an end to violence” by Afghans themselves, and the chance to develop the country after silencing the guns, “underpin today’s inaugural meeting.”
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that the peace process in Afghanistan must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country as he joined the inaugural session of the intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha through video conferencing.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said that Jaishankar's participation was in response to an invitation extended to him by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar Mohammad bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.
In his address, Jaishankar reaffirmed India's long-held position that any peace process in the country must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.
Jaishankar said the interests of minorities, women and vulnerable sections of society must be preserved and the issue of violence across the country and its neighbourhood has to be effectively addressed, according to the MEA.
The September 12 meeting comes in the wake of a security agreement inked between the United States and the Taliban representatives in February, which paved the way.
Continued near-record violence and satisfying the complex preconditions, including prisoner exchanges, had jeopardised the talks throughout recent weeks.
Stressing the importance of women’s involvement, Guterres had said that all parties “must do their part to ensure that women participate in a variety of roles, and that the peace process reflects the experiences and expertise of Afghan women in all their diversity.”