Written by admin on Thursday, February 7th, 2019

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Afghan Government Must be ‘Decision-Maker’ in Any Peace Deal
SOURCE: Daily Outlook Afghanistan
Thursday, February 7, 2019

KABUL – Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani said on Tuesday no peace deal between the Taliban and the United States could be finalised without involving his government as “the decision-maker”.

Ghani’s government has so far been shut out of the evolving peace talks between Taliban negotiators and U.S. envoys to end more than 17 years of war, with the hardline Islamist movement branding his government a U.S. puppet.

He made his remarks in a television interview as Afghan opposition politicians, including his predecessor Hamid Karzai, met Taliban representatives in Moscow.

“At the end of any peace deal, the decision-maker will be the government of Afghanistan,” Ghani told TOLO News, the country’s largest private television station.

“No power in the country can dissolve the government,” said Ghani, who added he was ready to “stand and defend our country”.

“Rest assured that no one can push us aside,” he said.

With both sides hailing progress in talks in Qatar last month, U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is due to meet Taliban representatives there again on Feb. 25.

Ghani’s comments were some of the most extensive since he met Khalilzad in Kabul last week after the latest round of talks.

He said on Twitter early on Wednesday he had received assurances by phone from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about Washington’s commitment to an “enduring partnership” with Afghanistan.

Their military partnership was “unwavering” and would remain until a lasting and inclusive peace was achieved, he said.


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