Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday said that he will not transfer authority without elections, as pressure mounts for Afghans to consider a new US proposal for peace, which includes a plan for an interim government.
Ghani made the remarks during a seminar on Afghanistan’s foreign policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Referring to the government's peace roadmap, Ghani said it will help to achieve the desired goals of national sovereignty, a republic system, national unity, neutrality, connection and "lasting and just peace."
On the transfer of power, Ghani said: “If the Taliban are ready for elections tomorrow, we are also ready to participate in the elections, but I am not ready to transfer the power to my successor without elections. 42 years of war is enough, we also have the right to live in peace like other civilized nations of the world.”
This comes as a delegation of the Afghan government led by Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, is planning to attend the Moscow meeting on Afghanistan’s peace process that will be held on Thursday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement said it appreciates efforts made by Afghanistan’s neighboring countries and regional and international partners for peace and emphasizes the importance of continuing these efforts and cooperation.
The ministry said the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is currently engaged in negotiation with the Taliban delegation in Doha and these negotiations will continue in the future.
The United States Department of State has confirmed that the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, will participate in the upcoming Moscow conference that is scheduled for the end of this week.
“Well, to answer your question on the peace process in Afghanistan as well as Special Representative Khalilzad, as of last week the Secretary said we are engaging in the region and international partners to try to accelerate progress towards a political settlement, and as a part of our ongoing efforts to encourage this important peace process, Ambassador Khalilzad does plan to attend the meeting in Moscow,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
The High Council for National Reconciliation confirmed that Abdullah Abdullah, head of the council, along with a high-ranking delegation, will travel to Moscow on Wednesday to attend the conference.
The meeting comes amid new developments in the peace efforts in Afghanistan, which include the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s letter to President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, and the US-proposed draft for Afghan peace shared with Afghan leaders.