KABUL (Agencies): US Peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad in a tweet on Saturday night said that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) issued a statement on Afghanistan peace negotiations that underscores the international commitment to Afghanistan’s “sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity.”
Khalilzad said that the statement “supports the path the parties are currently on, which is to find a political settlement that accommodates all Afghans, one the region and international community can endorse in spirit and in action.”
Khalilzad continued: “This is a unique moment for Afghanistan. Not only are Afghan parties negotiating directly, but as indicated by the UNSC statement, there is broad international support for a negotiated political settlement and peace in Afghanistan.
“This unique opportunity must be seized,” Khalilzad added.
The UNSC, in a statement that was released on Friday, welcomed the start of the Afghanistan peace negotiations in Doha, Qatar.
The members of the UNSC also recognized that “a sustainable peace can be achieved only through a comprehensive and inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process that aims at a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, as well as an inclusive political settlement to end the conflict in Afghanistan.”
The members of the UNSC “strongly encouraged parties to the negotiations to continue pursuing confidence-building measures, including reductions in violence, and to continue to engage in good faith.”
The members of the UNSC also reaffirmed the importance of the United Nations role in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and “welcomed the efforts of all regional and international partners of Afghanistan in facilitating intra-Afghan negotiations and in helping the parties reach peace.”
A joint meeting between the negotiating teams of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban is expected on Saturday evening in Doha to resolve disputed points regarding rules and regulations of the peace talks, according to sources from the two teams.
The two sides have a disagreement on four key issues, one of which is the use of the term “war,” which the Taliban would prefer to be replaced with “conflict,” according to TOLOnews reporter Karim Amini, who closely follows the talks in Doha.
Other disputed matters between the two sides include religious issues and human rights, Amini said.
The opening ceremony of the intra-Afghan negotiations was held in Doha a week ago. So far, the negotiating teams have held three official meetings, and five advance meetings by “contact groups” to discuss the agenda and the rules and regulations of the talks.