First HCNR meeting: Ghani invites consultations on peace

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KABUL:  The first-ever leadership assembly of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) leadership was held at the Presidential Palace on Saturday, with participation from political leaders and the council members.


Opening the meeting, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani thanked and welcomed the political leaders and the negotiating team that represented Afghanistan’s unity. “The peace negotiations have entered a second phase, necessitating more consultations,” he said. 


Furthermore, he emphasized that “sacrifice is necessary but only for the sake of maintaining the system, not for preserving a position.”


Meanwhile, HCNR Chairman Abdullah Abdullah, at the inaugural meeting, said “I welcome you all. I thank you for accepting our invitation to attend today’s meeting.”


“The body’s leadership committee meeting is useful for building consensus,” said Abdullah, admitting that heads of Jamiat-e-Islami & Hezb-e-Islami parties, Salahuddin Rabbani & Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, were unable to attend the gathering but promised to take part in future discourse.


According to him, unity, consensus, and inclusivity in words and action were needed to accomplish a durable peace.


“Peace needs sacrifices, and we are ready to engage with the Taliban to discuss all issues fully.”


Speaking at the occasion, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai also underlined that “it is our religious and national duty to end the killing of more Afghans.”


Moreover, ex-Jihadi leader Sayyaf stressed, “Let’s stabilize our inner circle. If we don’t divide from within, outsiders can’t defeat us.”


For his part, Mohammad Yunus Qanooni, former vice-president, said the roadmap for achieving peace and harmonizing different views would be part of the next meetings of the HCNR.


“There is a need for consensus within politicians in the country on Afghan peace,” said Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar as he concluded the meeting.