US-Taliban peace agreement is entirely conditional: Sediqqi

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: SediqSediqqi, Palace spokesman, at a press conference on President Ghani’s recent trip to the Munich Security Conference on Tuesday, said that the US-Taliban peace deal is conditional and will be “finalized next week.”

“Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, and Mark Esper, US Secretary of Defense, in a meeting with President Ghani told him that none of the peace agreement article is ‘without conditions,’” Sediqqi said.

The peace deal between the US and Taliban will be “finalized” next week, Sediqqi said, adding that “peace is a priority for the government and the president, and our peace will be national–not on one side.”

The demand of the government of Afghanistan was a ceasefire, but agreements have been made over a major reduction in violence, Sediqqi said, adding that “we hope that this opportunity brings peace.”

He said that the Afghan forces are working to coordinate with US forces over reduction in violence.

“Yesterday’s meeting at the presidential palace was also about this with the security forces commanders,” he said, adding: “Serious work is ongoing over reduction in violence, and we cannot share all the details with you now.”

The government of Afghanistan assures the people that “we will not be setback” and “will put all of our efforts into keeping the recent achievements,” Sediqqi said.

“When the government delegation enters negotiations with the Taliban, they will enter with clear instructions. The delegation team will represent all the nation…in the peace talks with Taliban,” according to Sediqqi.

“Our delegation–to sit with the Taliban–has always consulted with all sides, and the government’s principle is political and national consensus,” Sediqqi said, adding: “As you know the situation is now changed,” referring to US-Taliban peace developments.

“We will see the Taliban’s will this time; it’s an opportunity for them to show that they want peace,” he said.

On Monday, Taliban’s deputy leader of the group, Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi, said that the US-Taliban agreement – which has been finalized in principle – will be “signed by both sides at the end of February.

Hanafi said that the US-Taliban talks – which started late in 2018 and continued for 10 rounds, mostly in the Gulf state of Qatar – have ended and both sides are preparing to sign the agreement.

US government officials and Taliban representatives have announced progress with a reduction in violence plan, intended to lead to a signed peace deal, followed by intra-Afghan negotiations and ultimately an enduring peace.(TOLOnews)