Qatar announces success of Afghan peace talks | News -

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"Today we are thrilled to have reached a joint statement as a first step towards peace," said the Qatari Foreign Minister's Special Envoy for Combating Terrorism and Mediation in Dispute Settlement, Mutlaq Bin Majid Al Qahtani.

Some 70 Afghan people representing the Taliban, the government, the opposition and civil society pledged in a statement at the end of peace talks hosted by Doha on Sunday and Monday to prepare a "road map for peace" in the war-ravaged country.

To achieve this goal, Afghan delegates promised to "reduce violence", work for the return of displaced people and refuse to interfere regional powers in Afghan internal affairs.

According to the final statement issued by the meeting, participants pledged to "guarantee the rights of women in the political, social, economic, educational and cultural fields, in accordance with the Islamic framework of Islamic values."

"This is not an agreement, it is the basis for starting the debate," said Mary Akrami, executive director of the Afghan Women's Network. "The good thing is that the parties have agreed."

The statement was issued at around 9 pm GMT and was greeted with warm applause from participants.

Shortly after the meeting ended, the German envoy to Afghanistan, Markus Botezl, whose country participated with Qatar in organizing the Doha meeting, pointed out that the most important statement in the final statement is "the call and promise to reduce violence in Afghanistan." The Qatari side also praised the "seriousness and commitment of the parties to work towards ending this conflict".

The Doha talks represented a new attempt to achieve a political breakthrough, while the United States seeks an agreement with the Taliban within three months to end 18 years of war.

On the sidelines of the peace talks, the Taliban rebels held separate talks in Doha with US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad to discuss ways to reach an agreement that would allow US troops to withdraw for a number of guarantees.

While Washington expressed its desire to reach an agreement to start withdrawing troops before September, the date of the Afghan elections.

WB / HZ (AFP, Reuters)

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