Taliban’s ‘unwillingness’ delayed Summit: Rahmani

KABUL (Tolo News): The speaker of the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of Afghanistan’s parliament, said that the Taliban’s unwillingness led to the postponement of the UN-led peace conference on Afghanistan to be held in Turkey.

“The Istanbul conference is a historic opportunity for the Taliban, the government and the people of Afghanistan which shouldn’t be wasted,” said Rahmani. “Unfortunately, there is no will from the side of the Taliban movement,” said Sayed Saadat Mansour Nadery, the State Minister for Peace Affairs.

Nadery stated that the republic side in its peace plan has agreed the to the formation of an Islamic Jurisdiction Council, not the executive council. “The side of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan under one umbrella–and twice as much as the Taliban–should be at the negotiating table and and when there is power-sharing in the of future,” said State Minister for Peace Affairs Sayed Saadat Mansour Nadery.

The UN-led Afghan peace conference in Turkey was scheduled to take place on April 24, but now the summit has been postponed because of non-participation by the Taliban. Turkey, the UN, the US and Qatar made several attempts in the past to convince the Taliban to ensure their participation in the conference, but the efforts did not yield an outcome.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted that the conference had been postponed for after the Eid al-Fitr. “We have consulted with Qatar, the US and the UN,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. “We have decided to postpone the Istanbul Conference on the Afghanistan peace process after Eid a l-Fitr.”

The Taliban have been insisting that the US first needs to implement the Doha agreement before the start of the Istanbul conference, meaning that the US needs to honor its agreement signed under the Trump administration to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by May 1. The Afghan government said the list of republic delegates for the conference has been finalized. A high-level Afghan government official who spoke on condition of anonymity told TOLOnews that there is the possibility that a 15- or 17-member team will represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the conference scheduled for April 24.The High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR) also confirmed the finalization of the republic’s negotiating team.