Doha talks breakthrough welcomed by government and foreign partners

The United States, European Union (EU), UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the British Embassy in Kabul were among many who welcomed Wednesday’s announcement of a breakthrough in the Doha peace talks and say they hope this leads to a ceasefire.

US peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, also welcomed the announcement that the Afghan Republic’s negotiating team and the Taliban had agreed on the rules and procedures of talks going forward.

In a series of tweets, Khalilzad however emphasized the need for a reduction in violence and ceasefire.

“As negotiations on a political roadmap and permanent ceasefire begin, we will work hard with all sides for a serious reduction of violence and even a ceasefire during this period. This is what the Afghan people want and deserve” tweeted Khalilzad.

According to Khalilzad, “this agreement demonstrates that the negotiating parties can agree on tough issues…The people of Afghanistan now expect rapid progress on a political roadmap and a ceasefire. We understand their desire and we support them.”

The US embassy in Kabul also welcomed the breakthrough in a tweet. US Charge d’Affaires Ross Wilson said: “Welcome news from the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations.”

Andreas von Brandt, Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union in Afghanistan, also hailed the breakthrough calling it a ”promising step forward.”

Deborah Lyons, UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) chief “welcomes progress achieved by both negotiating teams in the Afghan Peace Process. Moving on to the agenda is a positive development,” her office tweeted.

According to UNAMA “this breakthrough should be a springboard to reach the peace wanted by all Afghans.”

The British embassy in Kabul also tweeted and said they are encouraging both sides to continue the positive momentum.
“The biggest obstacle remaining is the current unacceptable level of violence: this must stop. Peace is the only solution for lasting stability, security, and peace in Afghanistan” the embassy tweeted.

Abdullah Abdulah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation also welcomed the latest development.

“I welcome the initial major step taken in Doha today agreeing to the procedural framework that paves the way for discussions about the peace agenda. I thank the republic’s negotiation team, all facilitators and the host Qatar for their valuable support,” tweeted Abdullah.

The Presidential Palace was also quick to respond. President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi tweeted: “The President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan welcomes the finalization of the negotiation procedures in Doha. It’s a step forward towards beginning the negotiations on the main issues, including a comprehensive ceasefire as the key demand of the Afghan people for a lasting peace.”