Safeguarding democratic gains in peace a must: EU, Canada

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KABUL: The Afghan government on Monday welcomed a recent statement from heads of mission of the European Union and Canada in which they had reiterated their support for the Afghan peace quest and called for meaningful inclusion of all parts of Afghan society, including women, throughout the peace process.


On Sunday evening, a joint statement from the European Union (EU) and Canada’s heads of mission in Kabul urged all Afghan political forces to resolutely seize the historic opportunity for lasting peace. They also called for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations without further ado.


Addressing the Taliban, the statement asked the insurgent group to respect Afghans and UNSC’s unanimous call regarding declaring a comprehensive ceasefire, emphasizing that there was no military solution to the conflict and the unacceptably high level of violence flew completely in the face of the peace process and the UN Charter’s principles.


The statement maintained that a negotiated political settlement leading to peace must preserve and build on the democratic and human rights achievements of the past 19 years. “These include human rights, rule of law and democratic freedoms, including the increased respect for the rights and freedoms of women and girls. We especially urge for the full participation of women in all aspects of the negotiations,” it added.


In a statement, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said it rightly recognized the historic opportunity that the talks represented. “The Afghan government fully intends to seize the opportunity to end the conflict through negotiations.”


The statement added the government was entering these talks with the spirit of goodwill and constructive intent, as evident from the release of Taliban prisoners.


Meanwhile, Sediq Seddiqi, the Afghan presidential spokesman, also wrote on his Twitter handle that the “The Afghan government strongly welcomes the EU’s latest statement and principled position on the Afghan Peace Process. It is time for the Taliban to come forward and take part in the negotiations.”


This comes as following the prisoner swap completion last week, initial reports suggest that the intra-Afghan talks might get underway in Doha of Qatar this week despite the fact that a fixed date hasn’t been confirmed by any of the warring sides.