CEO Abdullah Abdullah attended the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at the outset of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday and renewed the Afghan government’s commitment over the peace process.
While participating at the summit, Abdullah said that it is a distinct honor for him and the Afghan delegation to attend the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, adding that “We are gathered here today to honor the centenary of the birth of the late Nelson Mandela, one of the world’s most impressive and dedicated defenders and symbols of freedom, liberty and human rights.”
“However, this Summit goes beyond remembrance and celebration. It is an occasion for addressing real challenges and dire conditions faced by victimized human beings and communities around the world,” he said.
“It is a reminder that not only do we have moral and legal obligations to protect and defend, but also another opportunity to renew our commitment to peace, conflict prevention and resolution, reconciliation, non-discrimination and the protection and promotion of human rights,” he added.
“We are all painfully aware of the agony and injustice faced by millions around our planet, whether as victims of indiscriminate violence – terrorism being one particular form,” he mentioned.
He also said to the participating that he is representing a country and a society that has undergone 40 years of conflict and has suffered as a result of mainly external strife, imposed on us against our people’s will and wishes.
“Almost every theme and core issue addressed by this Summit fits the conditions faced by Afghanistan and the impact they have had on three generations of Afghans,” he said.
“It is therefore befitting and of critical importance to me and my compatriots to focus on concepts such as reconciliation and attaining a just and comprehensive peace,” he added.
He also said that “Our message is clear: we will defend our country and our people’s lives and rights as part of the constitutional order, but we stand ready to talk and negotiate with the reconcilable armed opposition who renounces violence and terror, and believes in a united, democratic, peaceful and economically prosperous future.”
“I believe that this is the spirit conveyed by inspiring global role models such as Nelson Mandela, and I believe that it is part of the legacy that this body and each country carries as part of their commitments and responsibilities,” he pointed.
This comes after the Presidential Palace said on Monday that President Ashraf Ghani would not attend the United Nations General Assembly.
The president’s spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri wrote on his twitter page that Ghani was too busy with issues such as elections and peace and would not be able to attend the general assembly.
“President Ghani decided to skip the UNGA because of critical issues such as elections and the peace process being at stake,” Chakhansuri wrote.
The Presidential Palace’s remarks however come in the wake of media reports, including one by Pajhwok Afghan News, that Ghani canceled his trip because US President Donald Trump refused to meet him on the sidelines of the general assembly.
A number of international affairs analysts meanwhile said Trump is reluctant to meet Ghani because he feels Ghani has not contributed enough to implement the US’s strategy.
“Trump is unhappy with Ghani, because he has not played a good role in implementing their (US) strategy,” international affairs analyst Omar Safi said.