President Ashraf Ghani on Friday said the international community need to strengthen the efforts for peace in Afghanistan as it is the demand of Afghans and a priority for the government.
Address the UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan’s peace process paid homage to the gains made by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and said that these forces are conducting 98 percent of their operations independently.
“We need to re-energize the peace process now at a critical point in Doha and develop a roadmap from today to the mid-state through structured discussions that would ensure the achievement of the agreed Endstate. You have a critical role to play in this,” Ghani said, referring to the country’s international partners.
Ghani called on the UN Security Council to put pressure on the Taliban through sanctions.
“I would request the council to stress the effective and thorough implementation of sanctions regimes as a key instrument for the success of the negotiations with Taliban. The Taliban has yet to fulfill the conditions set,” Ghani said. “Sanctions can only be effective if implemented by all.”
The Afghan leader said the issue of terrorism has not been curbed despite assurance by the Taliban to cut ties with terror groups including Al-Qaeda.
“Now more than ever in our recent history, your support, guided by principles of the UN Charter, and not by political expediency, are absolutely critical in ensuring we achieve peace in Afghanistan,” Ghani said.
On the upcoming conference on Afghanistan in Geneva, Ghani said: “Next week, we will gather virtually for the 2020 Geneva Conference on Afghanistan. The outcomes of this pledging conference will heavily influence the country’s future development and our path towards self-reliance and peace. For our part, we are pushing for accountability.”
He said there is a need for a comprehensive ceasefire in the country to move the peace process forward.
“I request the UN Security Council to reiterate the call for a ceasefire,” Ghani said. “A comprehensive ceasefire has been demanded by the Afghan government, by the Afghan people, by the international community and by the UN Secretary-General.”
Ghani’s call for peace comes as the peace negotiations between teams from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban continue in Doha since September 12; however, so far, direct talks have not started due to disagreements on procedural rules for the negotiations.
Foreign ministers of various countries who attended the virtual event call for a ceasefire and an end to violence and vowed their support to the Afghan peace process.
"The current level of violence of the Taliban, especially against civilians, is unacceptable. it undermines the peace negotiations and a ceasefire is urgently needed" said Pekka Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
"Nordic expectations of the peace process are clear, it needs to have human rights and the rule of law at its core." said Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide.
"We look forward to an Afghan peace negotiation that will put an end to violence and meet the aspirations of the Afghan people of peace and security. But it will not be achieved without ensuring the rights of all Afghan people, including women and minorities" Qatar Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said.
"We have called this meeting to show that the international community continues to put great interest in the situation in Afghanistan,” said Urmas Reinsalu, the Estonian Foreign Minister.
"A global ceasefire has been repeatedly called upon and we stress that the Taliban must fulfill its commitment and work to save civilian lives. It is unacceptable that the levels of violence is at its highest level in years,” said Urmas Reinsalu, the Estonian Foreign Minister.
"Allow me to reiterate Indonesia's strong commitment to stand together with the Afghan people until they have realized the long-awaited peace,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Menteri Luar Negeri said.
"I commend the Afghan Republic's commitment to the talks despite the continued levels of violence. The UN Security Council can continue to issue the call for a reduction of violence and an eventual ceasefire,” UNAMA chief Deborah Lyons said.