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Qatar attends Tajikistan conference on Afghanistan ahead of Istanbul meeting

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Turkey will be hosting a senior-level Afghan conference next month to push the ongoing peace process in Qatar.

Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi participated in the ninth Ministerial Conference of Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process on Afghanistan, hosted by Tajikistan on Tuesday.

During the conference, Al-Muraikhi reiterated Qatar’s position in working towards ending violence in the war-torn country and resolving conflicts in the Middle East through dialogue and active mediation efforts.

He added that the solution to the ongoing Afghan-Taliban conflict should be resolved through political means instead of military intervention, calling on all parties to reduce violence in Kabul.

Attending the meeting, Azerbaijan’s foreign minister Jeyhun Bayramov also expressed his country’s willingness to end the conflict in Afghanistan.

“We remain committed to supporting the stabilisation, peaceful reconstruction, and development of Afghanistan through bilateral efforts as well as active participation within the multilateral platforms,” said Bayramov at the meeting.

“Azerbaijan regards the Istanbul Process as a valuable mechanism of attaining peace, reconciliation, security and economic development of Afghanistan,” he added.

Read also: Afghan president to propose peace plan at Istanbul meeting: reports

Established in 2011, the regional Afghan-Turkish initiative aims to promote security, as well as economic and political cooperation through continuous dialogue.

The latest meeting also comes ahead of the Istanbul Afghan conference, which is set to take place next month to push the ongoing peace process.

“Intra-Afghan negotiations have raised hopes to achieve lasting peace,” said Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at the Tajikstan meeting.

The Turkish diplomat added that the intra-Afghan talks have reached “an important point” and called for a “comprehensive ceasefire” in order to resolve the conflict. Cavusoglu noted that the upcoming meeting would “complement and energise Doha talks.”

“We hope the meeting will make a significant contribution to existing peace efforts and meaningful progress can be achieved in the discussions on a future political roadmap for Afghanistan,” he said.

Meanwhile, reports said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is expected to propose a new peace plan at the Turkey meeting, which rejects the US plan to replace his administration with an interim government. Instead, President Ghani will propose a new presidential election within six months, under the supervision of the UN.

“The counterproposal which we are going to present at the Istanbul meeting would be to call for early presidential elections if the Taliban agree on a ceasefire,” one senior government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Read also: Moscow conference calls for ‘immediate ceasefire’ in Afghanistan

Moscow was the first country to host a high-level Afghan meeting after Doha on March 18th, where Russia, the US, China and Pakistan have called for an immediate ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban to put to an end the ongoing conflict in the war-torn country.

“At this turning point, our four countries call on the sides to hold talks and reach a peace agreement that will end more than four decades of war in Afghanistan,” a joint statement read after the Moscow talks.

The intra-Afghan talks began in Qatar in September, months after a February agreement between the Taliban and the US that suggested a complete withdrawal of US and NATO troops by May.

However, US President Joe Biden said that the complete withdrawal of American forces may be “tough” as the Taliban continue their attacks in Afghanistan.


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