United Nations: nA negotiated end to the 17-year conflict in Afghanistan “has never been more real…than it is now”, the head of the United Nations peace mission, Tadamichi Yamamoto in the country has said, highlighting a series of important milestones achieved over recent months.
Mr Yamamoto said those developments included the appointment of a team to negotiate with the country’s former rulers, the Taliban, to end their long terrorist campaign, and the announcement of a peace advisory board representing a broad range of political views, together with recent initiatives by key international partners.
The critical task at hand is to allow political space for the main actors to formulate their positions, he added, briefing the Security Council on Monday.
“The key next step would be for representatives of the Government and the Taliban to meet, or at least to formally initiate what in mediation is referred to as talks about talks,” he said.
“For the sake of a peaceful future of Afghanistan, these opportunities must be fulfilled, and the risks managed,” added Mr Yamamoto, expressing hope that the current momentum will bring parties together and allow them to explore how they can move towards a peaceful settlement.
Mr Yamamoto, who is also the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, urged countries in the region “to contribute” to create an environment conducive to peace talks, allowing the people of Afghanistan to resolve their internal differences through negotiations.
“All international efforts, including those by regional actors and neighbours, need to be in concert and aligned with the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace efforts,” he said.
Mr Yamamoto informed also briefed Council members on October’s parliamentary and presidential elections, the continuing high numbers of civilian casualties, and the need to implement anti-corruption reforms in the interest of economic development.