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Khalilzad Expects Arg to Finalize Negotiation Team

Khalilzad Expects Arg to Finalize Negotiation Team

KABUL – The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, has held a fresh round of backdoor talks with the government leaders and has pressed them to expedite efforts to kickstart the intra-Afghan negotiations, sources familiar with the talks said on Wednesday.
The sources also reported serious disagreements between President Ashraf Ghani and Khalilzad over some items reflected in the draft agreement which according to the US envoy is closed and needs President Trump’s approval to be signed between the two sides.
Khalilzad is insisting for the formation of an authorized and inclusive negotiation team where Ghani will not have the authority to reject the decisions of this peace negotiating team, sources said.
However, the sources said, Ghani is pushing a leadership role for the Afghan government to avoid imprudence in the negotiation process.
The US envoy has asked Ghani to get ready for intra-Afghan negotiations at least one week ahead of the presidential election scheduled for 28 September, said the sources.
Sources said that over the past three days, Khalilzad has held four meetings with President Ghani.
“Many meetings were held last time when Khalilzad was here. The delegation has been formed and now it is handed to the president through Khalilzad. Let’s see if President doesn’t manipulate it. If it is manipulated, it will be damaged,” said Mohammad Mohaqiq, leader of Hizb-e-Wahdat-e-Islami party.
He added: “This team is totally authorized. There are veteran leaders of Afghanistan in it. They have sufficient experience and there is no need for training.”
According to Mohaqiq, the details of the peace negotiation team and also a group comprising the Afghan politicians which is supposed to oversee the undertakings of the peace negotiating team have been shared with the president.
When asked whether Afghan politicians await Ghani to announce the negotiation team, Mohaqiq said they are not waiting for the president to announce the list.
He said the next step of the talks will start once the US and the Taliban sign the agreement.
In his meetings with President Ghani, the US envoy has assured that the US will continue supporting the Afghan security forces.
On Tuesday Ghani’s critics also criticized his approach on the formation of the negotiation team, saying that delay in this respect shows there is a lack of will on moving forward the peace process.
(Sahar News)

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