Negotiating teams agree on procedural rules in principle

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KABUL: The Afghan negotiating sides in Doha have agreed in principle on the procedural rules for intra-Afghan talks following nearly three months of controversies holding back progress.


The Taliban’s political office in Doha has said both parties, the Taliban and Afghan government’s negotiating teams, have finalized and agreed on the procedural rules for peace talks, while the government side confirms partial agreement of the rules.


Mohammad Naeem Wardak, spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, on Saturday in a tweet stated that the procedures for intra-Afghan negotiation were finalized and agreed on November 15.


“The procedure of Intra-Afghan negotiations between the negotiating teams was completed and finalized in 21 articles on the 15th of November 2020. The mentioned procedure was interpreted in the existence of the host/facilitator country on 17th November 2020,” he said.


A copy of the procedure was handed over to the host country (Qatar) after it was approved by both negotiating teams, Wardak added.


However, Nader Nadery, a member of the government’s negotiating team and advisor to the president, later tweeted that only 21 articles of the procedure were agreed in principle, apart from its introduction.


“Therefore in the joint meeting on Nov 17, 2020, in the presence of the host country, it was decided that the rules and procedures will only be considered final once it is presented to the general meeting of both delegations & approved there,” he said.


The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has shared our understanding of the elements of the introduction with the other side, Nadery added.


But the Taliban in response to Nadery’s statement said that the procedure was entirely agreed including its introduction part.


“The entire procedure including the preface was completed and finalized by the agreement of both negotiating sides on the dates mentioned in the previous tweet,” Naeem Wardak clarified.