By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: The UN envoy for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons on Thursday concluded several days of consultations in Doha with Afghan parties and international partners about “the best way forward to strengthen and add impetus to intra-Afghan peace negotiations,” UNAMA tweeted on Thursday.
“There will be no pause in work to support Afghan peace negotiations. UN is continuing its engagement with both Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Taliban representatives, to maintain a focus on peace efforts and the path to a just and durable peace settlement,” it said.
The statement said that the Istanbul Conference postponement provides another opportunity for the Afghan parties to demonstrate progress in the current Doha Afghan peace negotiations.
“There should be no letup in Afghan efforts to find peace,” it said.
“UN will ramp up its engagement in support of an Afghan peace and end of the Afghanistan war. The UN’s impartiality and ability to convene is at the disposal of Afghans and international actors working for peace, especially regional states,” according to the statement.
UNAMA will continue its work with Afghan women, youth, media, victims, and civil society to support their vital role in the development of an inclusive peace, the statement further said.
This comes as the US-backed Afghan peace conference in Turkey was postponed because of non-participation by the Taliban.
The conference was scheduled for April 24 and was expected to see inclusive participation from parties to the Afghan conflict.
“We have consulted with Qatar, the US and the UN,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday. “We have decided to postpone the Istanbul Conference on the Afghanistan peace process after Eid al-Fitr.”
The US, Turkey, Qatar and UN have reportedly attempted to convince the Taliban to attend the planned meeting in Turkey.
But the group has insisted 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.
The Taliban reportedly asked the US on Tuesday to ensure the release of its prisoners and the removal of UN sanctions on the Taliban’s leaders in exchange for the participation of the group in the Turkey conference.
The Afghan government on Tuesday said the list of a republic delegation for the conference has been finalized.
A high-level Afghan government official who spoke on condition of anonymity told TOLOnews that there is the possibility that a 15- or 17-member team will represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the conference scheduled for April 24.