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Afghan government, some politicians not to attend Doha meeting

AT News Report

KABUL: The government and some political leaders have said they would not attend a meeting scheduled to be held as an ‘intra-Afghan dialogue’ with Taliban representatives on Sunday and Monday in Doha.

Germany and Qatar are going to host the meeting welcomed by the United States that is currently busy in a seventh round of negotiations with Taliban representatives in Qatar.

There will be no representative from Afghanistan and a number of politicians have apparently also pulled away from the meeting.

Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for President Ghani, said that the government was seeking a peace where the interests of all citizens were ensured.

He said the government had no problem with such meetings but wasn’t optimistic about the results of Doha meeting.

“We are hopeful to the efforts and pledges from international community, our allies, especially the US, Germany and other countries which are trying to turn the peace into reality for the people of Afghanistan. We emphasize that peace process is the top priority of the President of Afghanistan and we want a peace where the interests of all citizens of Afghanistan are ensured.”

The Qatar meeting is going to be organized by Berghof Foundation and jointly hosted by Germany and Qatar next week.

This comes after Germany’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Markus Potzel, said “Afghanistan stands at a critical moment of opportunity for progress towards peace.”

Meanwhile, some politicians have also said they are not going to attend the meeting. Mohammad Hanif Atmar, a presidential candidate, who has been in Moscow for the previous intra-Afghan dialogue, says he would not participate in the meeting.

Atmar’s Spokesman Qader Shah said they welcomed every meeting that benefited the Afghan peace process. “Atmar and his deputies will not attend the meeting.”

Unconfirmed reports suggest that around 60 people would participate in the Doha talks.

Meanwhile, the US special envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad, thanked Germany and Qatar for hosting the meeting and called it an essential element and an important step in advancing the Afghan peace process.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, during his unannounced visit to Kabul hoped to achieve a deal with the Taliban by September this year before Afghan Presidential elections.

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