Peace Talks Are Entering A New Stage: Khalilzad

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad who arrived in Kabul on Sunday says that he will “stay here for some time on this trip” and that he will have consultations with a wide range of people.

“Peace talks are entering a new stage and Afghans must be engaged more than ever,” Khalilzad said in a tweet.

On his first day of stay in Kabul, Khalilzad met with President Ghani and his team.

Khalilzad said that they discussed building further international consensus for peace and “also regional requirements and implications for peace including recent positive movement in Afghanistan-Pakistan relations and opportunities peace will provide for regional connectivity and development”.

“As Afghan peace process talks continue to progress, we agreed preparation for intra-Afghan negotiations now is essential,” Khalilzad said in a tweet about his meeting with President Ghani.

The Presidential Palace said in a statement that Khalilzad briefed President Ghani on his trips to Europe and his future plans in the peace process.

The statement said that the discussions were mostly focused on intra-Afghan dialogue and that the two sides welcomed Germany’s role in this regard.

“The two sides hoped that the intra-Afghan talks will begin as soon as possible,” the statement said.

The US Embassy in Kabul said in a statement on Sunday that Khalilzad is in Kabul for consultations with leaders of the National Unity Government, political leaders, civil society, and women.

The statement said that Khalilzad will discuss progress in US efforts to facilitate an inclusive peace process.

His arrival in Kabul follows stops in Islamabad, Berlin, and Brussels, the statement said.

“As peace talks reach a critical phase, engagement with more Afghans across the country on how to achieve a negotiated political settlement that brings a durable peace is of utmost importance,” the statement says.

During his visit, Khalilzad will engage Afghans from across society, including youth and students, female business owners and government officials, and religious leaders, the statement said.

On June 6, Khalilzad said that the United States and NATO will make a shared decision on remaining in Afghanistan or leaving the country.

Khalilzad said in a tweet said that he briefed the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on the Afghan peace process and thanked them for the “great sacrifices” made and their ongoing commitment.

The US envoy said that he assured NATO and its allies continued full coordination.

Khalilzad is supposed to meet the Taliban members in Doha in the near future which will be his seventh meeting with members of the group.

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