Ghani will attend Turkey's summit if Taliban leaders do

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KABUL: President will attend the upcoming US-proposed peace conference in Istanbul if the Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada participates, the republican team’s chief negotiator Masoom Stanekzai said.


The United Nations-led peace conference is being held at the United States’ request to facilitate attempts in Afghanistan to achieve a diplomatic settlement.


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested the meeting in a letter to President Ashraf Ghani and Chairman Abdullah Abdullah earlier this month.


“It depends on who will come from the opponent side, whether Mullah Haibatullah will attend or not,” Stanekzai said.


In response to the US-proposed peace plan for Afghanistan, Stanekzai underlined that a foreign plan is not possible to be implemented completely.


Meanwhile, he praised the Moscow summit as fruitful and expressed optimism that the upcoming meeting in Turkey would accelerate the stalled peace process.


“There, we have to work on the basics. What are the basics, and how should we proceed?” Stanekzai said.


“It is too early to say something about the formulas as we have supporters of the interim government, too, but the bottom line is that we need to be persistent.”


Afghanistan, according to Stanekzai, should have a government in which the people have the right to vote and freedom of speech.