Peace talks teams end deadlock, agree on rules and procedures

The Afghan government and Taliban peace talks teams announced Wednesday that they had finalized the rules and procedures for the intra-Afghan talks and will start discussing the agenda.

Nader Nadery, Spokesman for the Afghan Republic’s negotiating team, and Mohammad Naeem, the Taliban’s political spokesperson issued the same statement on Wednesday evening.

“The procedures including its preamble of the Intra-Afghan Negotiations have been finalized and from now on, the negotiations will begin on the agenda,” both teams tweeted.

Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation has welcomed the breakthrough in the Afghan peace process and called it a “significant milestone.”

“I welcome the news from Doha that the two Afghan sides have reached a significant milestone: A three-page agreement codifying rules and procedures for their negotiations on a political roadmap and a comprehensive ceasefire,” Khalilzad stated.

He said 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.”

“As negotiations on a political roadmap and permanent ceasefire begin, we will work hard with all sides for serious reduction of violence and even a ceasefire during this period.”

“This is what the Afghan people want and deserve,” he tweeted.

The latest development comes after the US Permanent Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said this week the Taliban has not stuck to the deal Washington signed in February in Qatar with the group.

“We never thought this peace process would be easy, and it has not been. We do not think the Taliban is keeping its word under the agreement,” she stated.