Doha, 12 Sept. 2020
As part of the efforts to achieve sustainable peace in Afghanistan, landmark Afghan peace negotiations launched in Doha in the morning of Saturday, 12 September 2020 at Doha Sheraton Hotel.
Following the US-Taliban Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan signed in February in Doha, start of direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban is a historic first step towards the resolution of decades-long conflict. Several goals for achieving peace in Afghanistan were discussed, including the road to a permanent cease-fire and a framework for Afghan reconstruction efforts.
21 members of Afghan government delegation headed by Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, 21 members delegation of of the Taleban movement headed by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and members of Afghan Civil Society will be participating in intra-Afghan negotiations.
Inaugural session of the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations was opened with the key-note speech of Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman AlThani, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of State of Qatar, among other key-note speakers on the occasion were US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Abdullah Abdullah, Chairperson, Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation; and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Co-founder of Taleban Movement.
In addition, around 14 world dignitaries addressed via webinar at the inaugural session of the Afghan Peace Negotiations included Eriksen Soreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway; Rashid Meredov, Deputy Prime Minister & Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan; Wang Yi, State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China; Retno Marsudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Indonesia; Abdulaziz Kamilov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan; Mevlut Cavusoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey; Heiko Mass, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany; Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan; Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of Republic of India; Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain; Suzuki Keisuke, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan; HE Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations; Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO and Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
Qatar has been playing significant role in bringing peace in Afghanistan. Following are main contribitions from Qatar side :
- Prior to today’s Afghanistan Peace Negotiations, Qatar has spent years providing support to facilitate, mediate and host successful peace talks to end the conflict in Afghanistan.
- Qatar strongly believes in the power of diplomacy and dialogue. Qatar has brought to the table a long experience of mediating a number of conflicts successfully, including in Lebanon, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti. Qatar will spare no efforts to continue to support the peace process in Afghanistan if needed.
- Qatar hosted direct talks between the US and the Taliban which culminated in February 2020 with the signing of a peace agreement in Qatar between the United States and Taliban. This was an important step towards sustainable peace in Afghanistan and led to the current peace negotiations.
- As Secretary Pompeo said at the time, Qatar has been an “enormously important partner”.
- Qatar also hosted the first Intra-Afghan Conference for Peace, co-sponsored with Germany, in July 2019 to complement the US-Taliban talks. The meeting included Afghan women and civil society for the first time, highlighting the importance of including Afghanistan’s women in the process.
- Qatar’s support goes beyond just mediation. We will work with Afghanistan as it heals from one of the longest conflicts in modern history. We will provide developmental aid and expertise, in addition to strengthening bilateral ties.
- The February peace agreement, along with the current negotiations, would not have been possible without the political will of all parties involved. We thank them for their commitment and efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan.
- The State of Qatar congratulates the people of Afghanistan on this historic milestone. We wish them continuous peace and prosperity.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman AlThani said in his opening remarks, “History has taught us over and over that using military force can never resolve the conflict in Afghanistan. The only way to do so is through adopting an immediate and permanent cease fire and paving the way for a constructive dialogue through negotiations to achieve acomprehensive political settlement across all spectrums in Afghanistan”.
He said that negotiation teams are also participating in discussions surrounding Afghan women and civil society, the future of human rights protections and democracy in Afghanistan. Their commitment to discuss key substantive issues provides evidence that the country can continue to move closer to a political
settlement for the safety and stability of future generations.
He said that the cooperation of all parties and international partners has played an important role in the success of holding these negotiations, and the State of Qatar will continue its role as an impartial and reliable international mediator to establish stability in the region.
Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State thanked Qatar for it’s amazing longstanding support for this effott. He said ‘ We would not be at this moment without all the work you (Qatar) and your team have done. Bless you for that’. He said that “I would urge each of you to engage the representatives of all Afghan communities, including women, ethnic and religious minorities, and the victims of your country’s long war.”
He said that “These historic negotiations should produce a political arrangement that accommodates competing views and rejects the use of violence to achieve political aims.”
“Our hope – our hope is that you will reach a sustainable peace and our goal is an enduring partnership with Afghanistan.” He said that ‘ I join you in savouring this moment of Hope. We should all be proud of this very moment”.
Dr Abdullah Abdullah thanked and said that ‘My heartful thanks goes to the brotherly State of Qatar for organizing and hosting today’s event. He said that we have come to this country to achieve dignified and lasting peace.’ He said that “I can tell you with confidence that the history of our country will welcome and remember today as the end of the war and suffering of our people.” We have come here with good will and intentions to stop 40 years of bloodshed and to achieve a country-wide and lasting peace.
If we bring lasting and dignified peace, protect our country’s independence, freedom and sovereignty and consolidate an Islamic constitutional base and inclusive system, that preserves the rights of all people, including men, women, minorities and victims of war, then both sides will be the peace heroes.” “We want all the people of Afghanistan to be reunited again under one roof after 42 years of imposed upheavals, aggression, jihad and resistance.”
“We now need to grasp this unique opportunity to move toward a new future that we can define together.” “Once again, our heartfelt appreciation to the brotherly State of Qatar and our international friends who have stood by our people over the years. We look forward to your partnership and contribution as we move forward to turn peace and stability into a sustainable reality.”
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar thanked leadership of State of Qatar and it’s people, other countries for their support in bringing peace.
He said that “The negotiation process may have problems, but the negotiations should move forward with patience. We will continue the Afghan peace negotiations, and try for peace and tranquillity, and we want to assure the world that they also pay attention to our peace negotiations to be successful. He said that “We want Afghanistan to have an Islamic system in which all citizens of the country see themselves in a brotherly manner.”
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of Pakistan lauded the role of all the parties in reaching to the successful launching of Intra-Afghan negotiations. He mentioned about Pakistan’s sufferings and of sacrifices during long 19 years of war in neighboring Afghanistan and it’s severe impact on the lives of people of Pakistan, economy, security, large internal displacement of people, tens of thousands of defense forces sacrifices. He paid his gratitude to the leadership of Qatar for facilitating and supporting towards bringing peace in the region.