The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on Wednesday welcomed the Afghan government’s renewed call for unconditional peace talks with the Taliban and the outlining of a framework for peace, presented at the Kabul Process II conference in the Afghan capital.
UNAMA said in a statement over 25 countries and international organizations participated in the second Kabul Process conference which was held on Wednesday.
The mission said it “strongly supports the vision for peace through intra-Afghan dialogue and urges all parties involved to engage at the earliest time.”
“UNAMA commends the stated preparedness of Afghan authorities to discuss all issues as part of a peace process, including such key aspects as the constitution and the lifting of sanctions against persons and entities, as well as the release of prisoners,” it said.
It said that the UN Mission recognizes the inclusive consultations to build a national consensus on peace conducted by the government and the High Peace Council before the conference as an important part of any national peace process, adding that the UN looks forward to the further and deeper involvement of Afghan women in all future dialogue and talks.
“The conference brought together all of Afghanistan’s neighbouring states, along with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and other parties, to establish a consensus among regional and international stakeholders on the imperative for an Afghan-led peace process,” it added.
UNAMA is encouraged by the active participation of the countries and organisations present; “we look forward to increased cooperation to assist with Afghan peace efforts and to address the shared problem of terrorism and transnational crime.”
The statement comes after President Ashraf Ghani officially opened the second Kabul Process meeting in the Afghan capital on Wednesday and said peace needs to be sought with the Taliban in order for them to become a political group.
Ghani said the peace process, and a ceasefire must be agreed upon with the Taliban.
“The Afghan government must be accepting and we will also work on the list of freeing Taliban prisoners”, he said.
Ghani also called on Pakistan to hold talks government to government and said: “We will be ready to starts talks with Pakistan and forget the past and start a new chapter.”
Ghani sent a strong message to the Taliban however, and said today peace is in their hands. He called on the group to accept the offer and to join the peace process and together with Afghanistan “save the country”.
Ghani also announced the Afghan government will provide passports to Taliban members and their families and will issue visas, open an office for them - even in Kabul - and will also work to remove sanctions against Taliban leaders.
Ghani said Afghanistan is determined to overcome the current threats and expand shared interests and grasp opportunities.
Ghani thanked delegates from all the countries in attendance for their support over peace in Afghanistan and said the threats are increasing and the enemies of Afghanistan are transnational criminals.
He went on to say the Afghan government and the international community have analyzed the scale and scope of the threat and drafted numerous resolutions and agreements to address the threat, but consensus is still needed to take coordinated action among states to counter the threat.
He told delegates: “Your presence here is a visible reminder that we are an international community united not only by shared threats, but shared interests and shared opportunities.”