The much-anticipated talks between Afghan politicians, civil society members and other representatives of Afghanistan’s society with the Taliban on issues around the peace process scheduled for April 20-21 was “canceled” due to a “disagreement” by Qatari government on the 250-member list proposed by the Afghan side as Presidential Palace described it in a statement.
The Presidential Palace said in the statement that the Doha meeting was "canceled" as the Qatar government did not accept the Afghan delegation's list and instead suggested a new list "which was not acceptable to the Afghan government".
“After completion of preparations of the delegation for going to (Qatar), Qatar government sent a new list which was not balanced in terms of involvement of the people of Afghanistan and in other words it was a disrespect to the national will of the Afghan people and this is not acceptable to the people of Afghanistan,” the statement said.
“A group of politicians at a meeting with President Ashraf Ghani agreed that the act by the Qatari government is not acceptable and they decided to ask the Qatari government to allow the attendance of the Afghan delegation selected by Afghanistan,” the statement said. “As far as the government of Qatar could not practice our legitimate suggestion, the Doha conference was canceled.”
The statement said that the government and the people of Afghanistan are committed to achieving a dignified peace and will continue their sincere efforts in this respect.
Meanwhile, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said in a tweet that he is “disappointed” that Qatar's intra-Afghan initiative “has been delayed”.
“We’re in touch with all parties and encouraged that everyone remains committed to dialogue and the Afghan peace process,” he said.
“Dialogue is and always will be key to a political roadmap and lasting peace. There is no alternative. I urge all sides to seize the moment and put things back on track by agreeing to a participant list that speaks for all Afghans. I stand ready to help if our help is needed,” he tweeted.
Former President Hamid Karzai said a statement that the Doha meeting was delayed but added that Afghans will continue their efforts for peace through an intra-Afghan meeting in the near future.
Sultan Barakat, Director of Doha Institute, which was expected to host the Afghans-Taliban meeting in Qatar, said in a tweet that the meeting was delayed as it is “unfortunately necessary to further build consensus as to who should participate in the conference”.