News ID: 251958
Published: 0356 GMT April 26, 2019

President Ghani urges new MPs to participate in peace process with Taliban

President Ghani urges new MPs to participate in peace process with Taliban

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani has called on newly-elected lawmakers to take part in the peace process with the Taliban militant group aimed at finding a way to solve the country's 17-year conflict.

Ghani inaugurated the new parliament on Friday, almost six months following the controversial elections last year in the war-ravaged country as well as long delays, unresolved disputes and political bickering.

"We have presented the peace plan on a regular basis and we are committed to it," the Afghan president said in an address to the first session of the parliament, Presstv Reported.

"Based on this plan, there will be no peace deal and negotiation that does not have the green card of the parliament," he added.

Ghani has invited thousands of politicians, religious scholars and rights activists to the grand assembly of Loya Jirga next week on the peace process in the country.

The Loya Jirga is a centuries-old institution used to build consensus among competing tribes, factions and ethnic groups in Afghanistan.

However, many opposition leaders have said they would boycott the four-day large gathering in Kabul because it was pulled together without their input and is being used by the Afghan president who seeks a second term in an election in September.

Opposition politicians have called for Ghani's withdrawal at the end of his mandate next month, saying he should give way to an interim government to oversee peace talks with the Taliban. However, the Afghan president has ruled that out.

Back in February, representatives from the Taliban militant group attended a meeting with high-ranking Afghan politicians in the Russian capital city of Moscow, where the participants called for an interim government as they negotiated without delegates from the incumbent administration in attendance.

The rare intra-Afghan gathering saw the Taliban elaborating on their vision for Afghanistan, among them rules around women and replacement of the country’s Constitution with one drawn up by Islamic scholars.

The United States and the Taliban militant group said in March that they have made "meaningful progress" in their latest talks held in the Qatari capital of Doha.

US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said the two sides had reached “agreement in draft” on the issues of troops withdrawal and counter-terrorism assurances.

A highly-placed member of the Taliban militant group said last week the next round of negotiations between the outfit and the United States will focus on the timetable for the pullout of all foreign troops from Afghanistan.

In an interview with AFP in Doha, the Taliban’s political spokesman Suhail Shaheen said previous negotiations with Washington had seen the two sides agree to a total withdrawal.

Opposition politicians have called for Ghani's withdrawal at the end of his mandate next month, saying he should give way to an interim government to oversee peace talks with the Taliban. However, the Afghan president has ruled that out.

 
   
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