Afghan peace talks resume in Pakistan; Sartaj Aziz presents 4-point plan

(From AP/Dawn)

Adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Monday opened a meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Committee (QCC) in Islamabad aimed at reviving the Afghan peace process.

 Sartaj Aziz

Sartaj Aziz

The QCC interaction ─ comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States ─ reflects an important consensus on the roadmap for peace talks. The meeting will not include the Taliban.

A first round of peace talks with the Taliban was held in July but collapsed after the Taliban belatedly confirmed the death of their founder Mullah Omar.

Sartaj Aziz while addressing the four-nation meeting, said the talks aimed to outline efficient procedures which will provide a basis for smooth functioning of the group.

He emphasised the importance of not attaching pre-conditions to start the negotiating process. “This, in our view, would be counter-productive.”

“Threat of the use of military action against irreconcilables cannot proceed the offer of talks to all the groups and their response to such offers.”

“Distinction between reconcilables and irreconcilables and how to deal with the irreconcilables can follow once the avenues for bringing them to the table have been exhausted,” he elaborated.

He proposed four points to help guide the reconciliation process:

  • Creating conditions to offer incentives to the Taliban to move away from using violence to pursue political goals and come to the negotiating table
  • Sequencing actions and measures appropriately to pave the way for direct talks with the Taliban
  • Using confidence-building measures to encourage Taliban groups to join the negotiating table
  • A realistic and flexible roadmap which broadly defines steps and phases ─ but avoids unrealistic targets and deadlines ─ is important for charting the course of action. Read More

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