Germany, Qatar working on 'inter-Afghan' talks, UN says


UNITED NATIONS -- Germany and Qatar are working to organise an "inter-Afghan dialogue" in an effort to start formal talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, a United Nations (UN) official said Wednesday (June 19).

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has met repeatedly with the Taliban in recent months in order to put an end to the war in the country.

A major sticking point remains the Taliban's refusal to negotiate with President Ashraf Ghani's government.

"Direct talks between the United States and the Taliban continue with broad international support," Tadamichi Yamamoto, who heads the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), told the UN Security Council.

Besides that effort, "Afghanistan and some of its international partners, in particular Germany and Qatar, are preparing for an inter-Afghan dialogue," he said, without giving details or a timetable.

"All these efforts need to be directed towards one common objective: to start formal negotiations between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to reach a peace agreement," added Yamamoto.

"The common message to the Taliban is clear: come to the table and negotiate directly with the Afghan government."

The United States and other countries including France told the Security Council they support the German-Qatari initiative.

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