Talks' venue wrangling mustn't hinder peace process: Abdullah

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KABUL: High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) ‘s Chairman Abdullah Abdullah has said disagreement over the venue of future phases of the intra-Afghan negotiations shouldn’t turn into a barrier, hampering smooth progress of the process.


Abdullah made the statement following National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib and President Ashraf Ghani’s recent remarks about shifting the next phases of peace talks to Afghanistan.


However, a spokesman for Taliban’s Qatar office, Mohammad Naeem, shortly opposed the idea, saying struggles for shifting talks from Qatar to Afghanistan was an attempt to sabotage the peace process.


Dr. Abbdullah Abdullah, talking to the opening ceremony of a new organization, the National Peace Secretariat, said that talks inside the country were better than in a foreign country. “Still, the venue should not construct a barrier to the peace process.”


He said that changing the location for future peace talks was dependent on the negotiating parties’ agreement.


“Our people emphasize on two issues; durable ceasefire and protection of past gains. Another prominent demand of the people is the inclusiveness of peace talks,” he said.


Intra-Afghan negotiations between the Taliban and government started about three months ago and the two teams were able to agree only on the procedures for talks during the period.


On December 12, the two sides announced a three-week recess until January 05, an announcement that gave rise to persistent calls regarding bringing the talks home from different quarters.