Afghanistan pins hopes for peace on Turkey talks

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KABUL, MAR 14 – Hailing “valuable and trusted friend” Turkey for its willingness to host peace talks, Afghanistan on Sunday said the meeting could prove to be a vital step forward in the quest for stability in the war-weary country.

In a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar said Turkey’s readiness to hold Afghan peace talks is expected to be a step forward in securing a cease-fire and reaching a political solution in Afghanistan, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Atmar praised Turkey’s readiness to host the next round of Afghan peace talks as a valuable and trusted friend, and stressed the need to increase contacts and consultations on the goals, agenda, participants and outcomes of the conference,” read the statement, which came a day after the two top officials spoke to discuss a range of bilateral and regional matters.

Turkey announced on Friday that a meeting on the Afghan peace plan will be held in Istanbul in April.

That will follow a multi-nation meeting in Russia at the level of the special envoys on March 18.

Afghanistan’s government confirmed on Saturday that it will take part in both events and send official delegations to both Turkey and Russia.

The events come amid a renewed push by the US to take forward the stalled peace process.

Washington has recently presented a draft peace agreement to the Afghan government and the Taliban, which includes terms for a cease-fire and a plan for an interim government that Kabul has previously opposed.