Turkey To Host Afghan Peace Meeting From April 24
UNITED NATIONS, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 13th Apr, 2021 ) :An international conference on the Afghan peace process will be held in Istanbul from April 24 to May 4, the United Nations announced Tuesday, amid reports that the United States now plans to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan in September.
The high-level and inclusive conference between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban is being co-convened by Turkey, Qatar, and the UN, according to a joint statement issued by the U.N.
"The co-conveners are committed to supporting a sovereign, independent, and unified Afghanistan," the statement said.
Pakistan is among 24 countries and representatives of regional organizations invited to the conference.
Making the announcement, UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that the overriding objective of the Istanbul Conference on the Afghanistan Peace Process is to accelerate and complement the ongoing intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha on the achievement of a just and durable political settlement.
"Participation in the Conference and its agenda have been the subject of extensive consultations with the Afghan parties. The Conference will focus on helping the negotiating parties reach a set of shared, foundational principles that reflect an agreed vision for a future Afghanistan, a roadmap to a future political settlement and an end to the conflict," he told reporters at the regular noon briefing at UN Headquarters in New York.
"It is our expectation that the Conference will provide an important opportunity for all partners to reiterate support for the people of Afghanistan on their path toward inclusive peace, stability, and prosperity," he added.
The announcement comes on a day when US media reports indicated that President Joe Biden has set the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks as the new goal for American troops to leave Afghanistan.
In February 2020, the US and the Taliban signed an agreement under which the Taliban agreed to halt attacks and hold peace talks with the Afghan government, in exchange for a US commitment to a complete withdrawal by May 2021.
Asked what would happen if the Taliban don't show up at the meeting, as already indicated by them, the UN spokesman said, "I'm not going to prejudge what may or may not happen. When you are talking about the future of Afghanistan, I think it is important to have both the representatives of the of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban, but I'm not going to start going into hypotheticals about what will not happen. We understand that deliberations are still going on and we very much hope they will participate."