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Afghan envoy hails Turkey’s role in Afghan peace process

By: The Kabul Times

KABUL: Turkey has great potential to step up the peace process in Afghanistan and the upcoming peace talks in Istanbul slated for April will hopefully pave the way for a cease-fire first, then an agreement on fair and sustainable peace, the Afghan ambassador to Turkey said Friday.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), Ambassador Amir Mohammad Ramin commented on the peace process in Afghanistan and said: “The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is strongly committed to a peace process that leads to just and sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
We welcomed any initiative in support of the peace process.”
Ramin went on to say that the first of these initiatives took place in February 2018 when President Ashraf Ghani offered unconditional peace talks with the Taliban through a conference and added: “Since then, we have continually called for dialogue as the best way to end the violence ongoing in Afghanistan.”
One of the peace initiatives was the talks in Doha, Qatar, and the Afghan government fully supported the peace process and actively participated.
However, according to the Afghan diplomat, the initiative later turned into a stalemate and no progress was made.
Thanks to Turkey’s strong historical and cultural ties and mutual trust with Afghanistan, the Afghan ambassador believes Ankara has “great potential” to help facilitate progress in the peace process.
“We considered Turkey the most relevant, the new and most relevant actor given, given the mutual trust, to host this important event that we all hope to be able to lead to cessation of violence, and ultimately, (to) sustainable and just peace of Afghanistan,” he said.
“We haven’t had progress in Doha. And I think having the Istanbul meeting, we expect, would help overcome and address this stalemate. And I believe that Turkey will facilitate the environment for the intra-Afghan talks to continue,” he added.
Last week, the head of the United Nations’ support mission also said that the upcoming intra-Afghan meeting in Turkey is a key opportunity for the Afghan government and Taliban to come to agreements on fundamental outstanding issues.
Emphasizing that Turkey had constructive and strong ties not only with Afghanistan but also with regional countries as well as with the U.N. Security Council member countries, Ramin further noted that such relations could help the peace process gain momentum.
“The key expectation is that Istanbul will hopefully lead to a sustainable and just peace,” he said.
Although the peace initiatives, including those in Doha and Moscow, did not entirely eliminate the violence in Afghanistan, the Taliban did not target foreign forces in the country as part of its deal with the U.S., but it still continued to kill Afghan civilians, according to the ambassador.
He said: “So the Doha agreement did not deliver the key expectation of the Afghans, which was the cessation of violence.
I think the first and important expectation is to see a cessation of violence, end the violence in Afghanistan.
And the second important expectation is that this will preserve the gains that Afghanistan has achieved over the past 20 years. These are democratic gains. And the core of this democratic gain is the will of the people.”
Asked about the U.S. motives to hold peace talks in Turkey’s metropolis Istanbul and whether this would have any positive impact on the resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan, the ambassador said both the Afghan nation and the government sought to have the peace talks in Turkey, and Afghan officials requested Turkish counterparts to play a more active role in support of the peace process amid discussions in Ankara.
“Along with the request and expectation from the international community, Turkey is also delivering on the expectation of the Afghan government and the people of the country.
And it’s a very positive role and we welcome this very warmly,” he said.
The details of the peace talks in Istanbul are yet to be finalized, but the Afghan president clearly demonstrated his will to take part in the meeting in Istanbul if the Taliban participates in the meeting at the leader level, according to the envoy, who said foreign ministers, as well as senior representatives of the U.N. and EU, will also be present at the meeting.
Afghanistan welcomed the Turkish government’s decision to appoint a special envoy for Afghanistan, the ambassador said, adding this act showed that Ankara had “a strong commitment to not only Afghanistan’s peace process, peace and stability but also regional peace and stability.”
Underlining that peace in Afghanistan meant stability in the region that would benefit everybody, including Turkey, the Afghan envoy said the elimination of violence in the war-weary country would halt irregular migration and pave the way for economic cooperation in the region stretching from Turkey to the Caucasus, Central Asia and Pakistan.

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