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Nobody has right to veto peace; Hekmatyar

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KABUL: Peace is the most important national issues and a demand of all Afghan people and nobody has the right to veto peace, said Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, presidential candidate and leader of Hezb-i-Islami party.

At a news conference on Tuesday, he said no political consensus in the country has been formed over peace nor has a credible and authoritative entity with carte blanche to decide crucial issues surrounding peace including a fortified plan and a negotiating team.

Hekmatyar proposed that the three leading candidates including the incumbents Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah and himself along with former president Hamid Karzai reach a political consensus.

This ‘rectangular unanimity’ will culminate into a political consensus on peace, thereby forming a legitimate and authoritative front – whose authorities should be predefined to ensure that it won’t overstep its authority in impending peace negotiations.

Earlier, Executive Chief Abdullah Abdullah conveyed similar opinion about peace and argued that the State Ministry for Peace Affairs won’t be able to steer peace process unilaterally.

Hekmatyar, however, suggested an interim government with an elongated tenure of one year. He proposed that that government would have a responsibility to hold elections – which would not enlist ministers and cabinet members.

This is as negotiations between the United States and the Taliban resumed late Sunday in Qatar – after days of discussions on next steps for peace – with Kabul pinning hopes on Qatari government to use mediation to broker peace in Afghanistan.

Deputy Spokesperson for the Presidential Palace, Dawa Khan Minapal, said Monday that any progress regarding U.S.-Taliban negotiations on ending violence and ceasefire will be shared with the Afghan government. He said the next steps for the process would be to design a practical plan for reduction of violence and announcement of ceasefire.

A Taliban spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, said in a tweet that Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani attended the meeting on Sunday – in which US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad as well as Taliban’s deputy leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, Mohammad Fazil, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwah, Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi were also present.

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