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John Kerry asks Taliban to join peace process

AT-KABUL: The US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday urged the Taliban to renounce violence and join the Afghan-owned peace process.

In a joint press conference with President Ashraf Ghani here, the US Secretary of State said that he had healthy discussions on different issues with the Afghan president and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah.

He said that they had discussed the peace process, security situation of Afghanistan, political and judicial reforms. John Kerry also conferred on preparations for the coming Warsaw and Brussels conferences. Kerry said that there are some challenges which would take more time to be resolved.

“Afghanistan is making progress. There is improvement in economic, judiciary and other fields. Afghan security forces are giving sacrifices on daily basis to protect people,” the US Sectary of State said.

He furthered that the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (GCG), comprising of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US, was established to support Kabul in bring peace and stability to the country.

Kerry said that Afghan security forces are trained and prepared to maintain security of the country.

Regarding the upcoming conferences in Poland and Belgium, he said that in Warsaw summit the NATO member states would see what kind of support is required for Afghanistan. In Brussels the allies would assess the efforts and support.

President Ghani said that John Kerry’s visit was in Kabul to assess implementation of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) and upcoming NATO summits on Afghanistan.

He said that the US and Afghanistan has common interests in shape of BSA, adding that terrorism is a common threat for the two countries.

Regarding the peace process, Ghani said the US has supported Afghanistan in creating ground for peace. “Stability of Afghanistan is essential for regional stability.”

Thanking the American troops, the president said that hundreds of US soldiers sacrificed their lives for stability in Afghanistan. He also thanked the US for military and economic assistances in the past 14 years.

Ghani said that reforms are imperative for development of the country. “We had discussion on Warsaw conference. Afghan government wants to have clear achievements in the conference so the international community will trust Afghanistan. Political reforms and fight against corruption are need of the hour. Reforms are not only necessary for getting support but for improvement of the national economy and stability of the government as well. Afghan people desperately need political reforms and fight against corruption,” the president said.

He also thanked the Wolesi Jirga for approving nominees, and hoped that the Attorney General would bring reforms in judiciary. He said that reforms will boost confidence of public and give message that the country could go forward in the direction of development.

Ghani also commended the security forces and civilians for defending the country.

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