Turkey plans to host Afghan-Taliban talks in April
Istanbul, Mar 12 (efe-epa).- Turkey said Friday that it planned to host negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban in April within the framework of a United States peace proposal to jump-start stalled Afghanistan peace process.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey was finalizing the logistical and other arrangements of the planned meeting and would also appoint a special envoy for Afghanistan to contribute to the process.
The comments came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week urged Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to accelerate the stalled peace talks.
In his letter to Ghani, Blinken asked the United Nations to convene a meeting of foreign ministers and envoys from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, and the US to “discuss a unified approach to supporting peace in Afghanistan.”
The intra-Afghan peace process, which began as a result of the Doha agreement signed between the US and the Taliban in February 2020, is stalemated.
In a process launched on Sep.12, 2020, the Kabul and Taliban negotiators have only agreed on rules and regulations governing the talks. They are now trying to finalize the negotiating agenda.
The Turkish foreign minister said his nation was “one of the few countries invited to the signing ceremony (of the US-Taliban pact in Doha), and we are one of the most important actors in Afghanistan.”
“Both the Taliban and the negotiation delegation, meaning the government side, had asked us to host such a meeting before,” he said.
He said the proposed meeting in Turkey would not be an alternative to the process that began in Qatar but would complement that.
“It does not matter where it takes place, but Turkey would be easier in logistical terms,” he said.
“We will do this in coordination with our sister nation Qatar.”
Çavusoglu stressed that Turkey had participated in the peace process from the beginning and that he will appoint a special envoy in
Afghanistan to advance the meetings.
Washington proposed in early March a four-point plan to accelerate the stalled Afghan peace process, something that was rejected last Monday by the Kabul government. EFE-EPA