UN welcomes Kabul-Taliban talks held in July

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UNITED NATIONS, Dec 10 (APP): The UN General Assembly Wednesday adopted, without a vote, a resolution welcoming as an “important first step” the direct talks held in July between the Government of Afghanistan and representatives of the Taliban, after an Afghan failed attempt to introduce in the draft some negative references to Pakistan’s role in the region.
According to informed sources, Afghan diplomats moved amendments to the draft that would have significantly altered the text on the situation on Afghanistan: One amendment would have the 193-member Assembly laud the all around progress made in Afghanistan, obviously an attempt at self-congratulation, and the other would blame Pakistan for some of the country’s difficulties.

The Pakistan delegation, led by Ambassador Maleeha Lodi, swung into action to counter move and found support among not only the sponsors of the resolution but also among many member states. Following its intensive contacts, the Afghan amendments were completely rejected.

The resolution, which was eventually adopted, encouraged Afghanistan and Pakistan to enhance their relationship in such a way as to lead to cooperation in effectively combating terrorism and moving the Afghan-led peace process forward.

Pakistan, which facilitated the July talks, has promised to help again should the Afghan government made a request.Last week, speaking in the General Assembly’s debate on the situation in Afghanistan, Ambassador Lodhi urged Afghanistan not to externalize its internal problems after an Afghan envoy blamed Pakistan for some his country’s troubles.

“Pakistan remains committed to the principles of ‘peace for development’ and a ‘peaceful neighborhood’,” the Pakistani envoy said. There were two paths to peace in Afghanistan: a military victory, which had proved elusive for 14 years, or a negotiated peace, which was the only viable option to bring peace, stability and development to the country, she said.

A unified policy in support of a peace process was lacking within the Afghan National Unity Government. Pakistan remained ready to assist in reviving an Afghan-led and owned peace process, but could do so only once requested by the Afghan Government. To do this, the Pakistani envoy said it would also be important for the anti-Pakistan rhetoric from Kabul to cease.