By: Lailuma Noori
Turkish foreign ministry has informed of delaying the coming Istanbul conference on Afghanistan peace. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said his country in close consultation with US, Qatar and the UN has decided to postpone the Istanbul conference for after Eid al-Fitr.
“We have consulted with Qatar, the US and the UN,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with a Turkish TV channel. “We have decided to postpone the Istanbul Conference on the Afghanistan peace process after Eid al-Fitr.” He said that efforts were made to hold the conference prior to the month of May.
The conference was scheduled for April 24 and was expected to see inclusive participation from parties to the Afghan conflict. The conference is set to be opened by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoðan and it is said that representatives of 21 countries, three international organizations and the two sides of the ongoing conflict as Afghanistan government and Taliban negotiating teams will attend the conference.
Answering a question whether the Taliban will participate at the conference or not, Turkish foreign minister said efforts would be made to convince the Taliban to participate at the conference, hoping Taliban would attend the conference.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan High Council for National Reconciliation says list of participants from Afghanistan government side for Istanbul conference has been finalized.
“The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is completely ready for Istanbul conference. We see it as an opportunity for peace in Afghanistan,” said Faridoon Khwazoon, a spokesperson to the high council for national reconciliation. He added that list of participants from the government side has been finalized, hoping all sides should take this opportunity serious for ending the continued war and maintaining peace in the country.
As preparations are underway for Istanbul conference, Taliban has intensified their attacks on various provinces of the country. Based on reports, 19 provinces of the country have witnessed serious clashes between Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and Taliban in the past one week. Continued war and violence have created lots of problems for the people of Afghanistan as dozens of innocent civilians are killed and wounded on daily basis.
The people of Afghanistan do not want the Taliban and ideology imposed on them. For time being, there’s no sign of decreasing violence or ceasefire in the country as Taliban has repeatedly rejected any comprehensive ceasefire for continuation of any peace talks with Afghanistan government.
It was determined that Istanbul conference is held on 24 April of the current month and lasts for 10 straight days, but Taliban has refused to participate at the conference, insisting that the US first needs to implement the Doha agreement before the start of the Istanbul conference, meaning that the US needs to honor its agreement signed under the Trump administration to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by May 1.
It is the second time the Istanbul conference is postponed. Previously, it had been determined that the conference was held on 16 April.