Doha talks between the Taliban and senior Afghan political figures scheduled for April 19-21, aimed at ending the long-term conflict in the war-weary country was “canceled,” the Presidential Palace said in a statement on Thursday.
According to the statement, the meeting was canceled due to a disagreement between the Qatari and Afghan governments on the 250-member delegation proposed the Afghan government.
“After completion of preparations of the delegation for departing to (Qatar), the Qatari government suggested a new list of delegation last night, which was not balanced in terms of all Afghan inclusion, which meant a disrespect for all people of Afghanistan and it is not acceptable to the Afghan people,” the statement said.
President Ashraf Ghani held a meeting with a group Afghan politicians, following the act of Qatari government, “they decided to ask the Qatar government to allow the participation of the delegation selected by the Afghan government,” the statement added.
“As the government of Qatar could not fulfill our legitimate suggestion, the Doha summit was canceled,” the statement noted.
Meanwhile, hours after released of the statement the U.S. Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said in a tweet that he is “disappointed” as Qatar’s intra-Afghan initiative “has been delayed.”
“We are in touch with all parties and encouraged that everyone remains committed to dialogue and the Afghan peace process,” Khalilzad said.
“Dialogue is and always will be key to a political roadmap and lasting peace. There is no alternative,” he added.
“I urge all sides to seize the moment & put things back on track by agreeing to a participant list that speaks for all Afghans. I stand ready to help if our help is needed.” Khalilzad tweeted.
At the meantime, Sultan Barakat, Director, Centre for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies, which was expected to host the Afghans-Taliban summit in Qatar, said in a tweet that the meeting was postponed as it is “unfortunately necessary to further build consensus as to who should participate in the conference.”
“All parties are working to resolve differences over the size and make-up of the delegation to visit Doha. Achieving peace in Afghanistan after 18 years of war was never going to be easy. We urge all parties to work patiently to ensure these talks take place,” Barakat tweeted.