Kabul, Apr 13 (EFE).- The Taliban warned on Tuesday that they would not attend the upcoming conference in Turkey to discuss Afghan peace negotiations if it is held this week, as announced by Kabul and other authorities, however the organizers later revealed that the conference would be held between Apr. 24 and May 2.
“The Islamic Emirate’s (as the Taliban address themselves) position is that we are not ready to attend the Turkey conference on Apr. 16,” Taliban’s main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told EFE.
He added that if the conference is held later, the group would consider its participation after discussions and subsequently reveal its position.
The Turkish foreign ministry announced on Tuesday evening that the conference, organized jointly by the United Nations, Turkey and Qatar, would be held between Apr. 24 and May 2
Afghanistan’s first vice president, Amrullah Saleh, had said on Sunday that the conference would “probably” be held this week in Istambul, with a possible ceasefire and the formation of a transition government being the main agenda for discussion.
However, the Afghan authorities have appeared divided on the issues to be discussed in Turkey, at an event which is aimed at boosting the intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha that have remained stuck since September.
Last week President Ashraf Ghani unveiled a peace plan that proposes the formation of a transition government after reaching an agreement that includes a ceasefire, while the president of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, announced on Sunday that the final draft of the proposal had been prepared.
However, the second vice president, Sarwar Danish, said in a statement on Monday that Abdullah’s draft had many “shortcomings and weaknesses.”
Abdullah’s document “tries to marginalize” Ghani’s proposal, Danish claimed, adding that the draft “is not worthy of being presented to the Istanbul conference and instead a new and comprehensive peace plan should be drafted with more precision to be acceptable to all.”
On Tuesday Ghani held a phone conversation with United States’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken over the upcoming conference.
“We discussed the ongoing peace process, the upcoming peace talks in Turkey, and also spoke about the upcoming phone call with President Joe Biden,” Ghani said in a statement.
The Turkey conference was proposed by Blinken in a letter to Ghani in March as part of international efforts to speed up the stalled peace talks in Doha.
The Doha negotiations kicked off on Sep. 12, but have failed to produce any significant progress even after seven months of meetings. EFE