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Doha peace talks revoked over delegation row

AT News Report

KABUL: The much-anticipated and the most critical peace talks between Afghan delegation and Taliban members have been revoked due to disagreement by Qatari government over who should attend.

Qatar government rejected 250-member list proposed by Afghan sides to sit in talks with Taliban in April 20-21 in Doha—a significant step toward finding a negotiated end to the Afghan war. 

Sultan Barakat, director of Qatar’s Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies, the organization sponsoring the talks, tweeted news of the postponement, saying “this is unfortunately necessary to further build consensus as to who should participate in the conference”.

Reacting over annulment, Presidential Palace said the meeting canceled and Qatar government has called for new list of participants, which was not acceptable to the Afghan government.

“After completion of preparations of the delegation for going to (Qatar), Qatar government sent a new list which was not balanced in terms of involvement of the people of Afghanistan and in other words it was a disrespect to the national will of the Afghan people and this is not acceptable to the people of Afghanistan,” the statement added.

“A group of politicians at a meeting with President Ashraf Ghani agreed that the act by the Qatari government is not acceptable and they decided to ask the Qatari government to allow the attendance of the Afghan delegation selected by Afghanistan,” TOLONews reported quoted the statement as saying. “As far as the government of Qatar could not practice our legitimate suggestion, the Doha conference was canceled.”

Taliban also confirmed the revocation, saying a decision was made during the Moscow conference on 6th of February that a similar conference will again be held in Qatar.

All participants attended the Moscow conference in a personal capacity and the upcoming Qatar conference was also planned with similar guidelines from the very first day, Taliban said in a statement.

With current disagreement, hopes for a breakthrough in a push to end Afghanistan’s decade-long conflict remained a distant dream.

Efforts to find an end to the war in Afghanistan have picked up pace since the appointment in September of US Peace Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who has held several rounds of talks with the Taliban.

However, he was “disappointed Qatar’s intra-Afghan initiative has been delayed”.

“We’re in touch with all parties and encouraged that everyone remains committed to dialogue,” the envoy wrote on Twitter. “I urge all sides to seize the moment and put things back on track by agreeing to a participant list that speaks for all Afghans.”

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