Representatives of world powers at the UN on Tuesday urged the United States and the Taliban to stick to their commitments and resume the peace negotiations few days after US President Donald Trump called off the talks with the militant group.
The envoys who addressed the United Nations Security Council reiterated that the only solution to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan is a political settlement.
“Russia consistently supports the aspirations of the Afghan people to achieve resilient peace in the IRA. We are genuinely interested in promoting Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process and subsequent stabilization in the country. We have stated on multiple occasions that a peaceful, stable and thriving Afghanistan is our shared goal,” Russian Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia said.
He said his country is gravely concerned about the suspension of the talks between the US and the Taliban.
“We regret the pause in negotiations between the US and the Taliban movement. The positive outcome of these negotiations would have unlocked promotion of peaceful national reconciliation and all-encompassing Afghan settlement,” said Nebenzia.
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, also called for a swift start of direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
“The events of recent days and weeks have shown, more than ever, the urgency of finding a political settlement to the long Afghan conflict. Efforts over the past year produced opportunities for peace. This created hope, but also fear for many. But one point remains clear: conflict can only be resolved by direct talks between Afghan people. These talks must be inclusive, representing the whole spectrum of Afghan society,” Yamamoto said.
He said that it is imperative that direct talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban commence as soon as possible.
On the presidential elections, he said, “concerns still remain ahead of the elections. One is security, another is voter turnout, and the other is possible fraud and irregularities.”
The Chinese permanent representative to the UN Liu Jieyi said that Beijing is willing to see the United States and the Taliban to resume their talks.
He said that China wants all parties involved in the issue to respect the interests of the people of Afghanistan.
“The International community should effectively implement its commitments and continue to provide support to Afghanistan. We also call on all political factions in Afghanistan to strengthen unity and address differences on elections through dialogue. Second is to assess and advancing the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process. China has taken note that the international community and regional countries actively push for the Afghan government to have direct dialogue with the Taliban resolutely, and we also push the US and the Taliban to continue and advance the negotiations and implement agreements,” the Chinese envoy said.
"We call upon all parties in Afghanistan including Taliban to prioritize on the national interests and interest of the Afghan people, seize the historic opportunity, launch intra-Afghan negotiations and reach sooner a future political framework acceptable to all parties,” he said.
German Permanent Representative Ambassador to the UN Christoph Heusgen also raised hopes that the peace negotiation talks between Afghan factions start soon.
“A sustainable peace process must ensure the continuity and stability of state institutions, of the constitution of Afghanistan and the future solution, has to respect human rights in general,” he said.
“There is no alternative to a political solution, we have to do everything to come back to the political track and this track has to be intra-Afghan negotiation process where the Afghan govt, where the political opposition where Afghan civil society are part of. Despite this cancellation or interruption, we have to see today where we stand in comparison to last year, last year there was no sign of genuine political process," he added.
In addition, the Afghan envoy to the UN Adela Raz said that despite security threats and challenges, the people of Afghanistan are determined to hold and participate in elections.
"The Security Council should also call on countries that could influence the Taliban to call for them to respect the aspirations of Afghan citizens, and prevent them from conducting attacks during Election Day," Raz stated.
"The government of Afghanistan has welcomed all international initiatives in support of our peace efforts that will lead to a dignified and lasting peace, and which preserve shared gains we have made, including but not limited to strengthening Republic and women’s constitutional rights," she said.
UN envoy said that the Taliban threats against the elections was unacceptable and said that any kind of attack on voters and polling centers will be considered a a violation of international laws.
This comes after on September 8, US President Donald Trump said that he had called off peace negotiations with the Taliban after the group admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed at least 10 people, including a US soldier.
In a series of tweets, Mr. Trump said he had been set to meet senior Taliban leaders, and separately, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, at Camp David on Sunday. However, he canceled the meeting and called off negotiations after the group admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed a US soldier.
The US and the Taliban “agreed in principle” on a deal after nine rounds of talks in Doha and UAE, according to US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad.
In an interview with TOLOnews last week, Mr. Khalilzad said the United States and the Taliban have reached “agreed in principle” on a deal, but added that it is not final until US President Trump agrees on it.
The Afghan conflict has cost almost 2,400 American lives and hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars. As the war approaches its 18th year, 14,000 US troops are still in Afghanistan and senior intelligence officials have repeatedly warned that the country remains fragile and could once again become a terrorist haven.