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NATO head urges ‘calm, de-escalation’ after Russian plane downed

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: November 25, 2015)

NATO head urges 'calm, de-escalation' after Russian plane downed.mp4_snapshot_00.09_[2015.11.25_13.39.46]

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that the military alliance stands by key ally Turkey after it shot down a Russia fighter jet on the Syrian border but urged both sides to try to calm the crisis.

“As we have repeatedly made clear, we stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO ally, Turkey,” Stoltenberg said after an emergency meeting of all 28 members requested by Ankara.

“I look forward to further contacts between Ankara and Moscow and call for calm and de-escalation. Diplomacy and de-escalation are important to resolve this situation,” he said.

Ankara said two of its F16 fighters shot down a Russian Su-24 after it violated Turkish airspace 10 times within five minutes along the Syrian border.

Russia insisted its aircraft was in Syrian airspace.

Stoltenberg said he had warned repeatedly of the dangers posed by Russia’s massive air campaign against rebels seeking to oust long-time ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“This highlights the importance of having and respecting arrangements to avoid such incidents in the future,” he said.

A NATO diplomat said there was strong support for Turkey at the meeting but also calls “for a measured response to ensure this does not happen again”.

“This was a serious incident and we don’t want it to derail progress made in building a common front against Islamic State,” said the diplomat, who asked not to be named.

Turkey is a key NATO member, with the second largest military in the alliance after the United States, and has several times called on its allies for support.

In response, NATO in 2012 deployed Patriot anti-missile batteries in the south but they were due to be withdrawn at the end of this year. NATO said previously the Patriot deployment was being reviewed.


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Afghan peace negotiator says they hope to finalize agenda soon

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: September 27, 2020)

Afghan Peace Negotiator, Mawlawi Attaullah Lodin said Sunday that the Afghan team and the Taliban peace talks team have not yet reached a consensus on the agenda and framework for negotiations going forward. 

Lodin, whose video message was posted to the official Afghan negotiating team’s Twitter page said the team is fully aware of Afghanistan’s calls for an immediate ceasefire but that the talks are complicated and will need time for agreements to be reached. 

He said: “We hope to finalize the agenda and that both sides agree to it. Thereafter a ceasefire should be called.”

Lodin also raised the issue of the US-Doha agreement signed in February, which has become a point of contention between the two teams. 

The agreement led to the Afghan negotiating team meeting the Taliban team around the talks tables, which started two weeks ago. 

However, the Afghan government was not a party to the deal between the US and the Taliban, which does not recognize the Afghan government as legitimate. 

“We were not present in the deal, we have not signed the deal,” said Lodin. 

This comes after a member of the Taliban’s negotiating team, Khairullah Khairkhwa, said on Saturday that the main point of contention in the ongoing intra-Afghan talks in Doha was that the Afghanistan Republic was refusing to deal with the current talks within the framework of the US-Taliban agreement.

He also stated that the second point of contention is that Shiite members say that decisions should not be based solely on Hanafi jurisprudence. The Afghan negotiating team want Hanafi, Shiite and human rights included.

Lodin said, however, that according to the Afghan constitution, the Shiites Jaʿfari jurisprudence, or Ja’fari Fiqh, can not be ignored. 

“We don’t want to experience what is going on in Yemen and Syria as there is conflict between majorities and minorities in those countries,” he said. 

Another Afghan talks team member Nader Nadery meanwhile said late Sunday night that the two teams had met earlier and discussions had lasted several hours. The discussions focused on the contentious issues and would continue, he said.

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Abdullah’s official visit to Pakistan as head of HCNR confirmed

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: September 27, 2020)

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), will pay an official three-day visit to Pakistan from Monday, Islamabad confirmed Sunday. 

During his visit, Abdullah will meet with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi, the foreign minister and other high-ranking government officials, Pakistan’s foreign ministry confirmed in a statement issued Sunday. 

Abdullah will also deliver a key-note address at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad.

This will be Abdullah’s first visit to Pakistan as head of the HCNR and the first since 2008. 

“The visit will provide an opportunity for wide-ranging exchange of views on the Afghan peace process and strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations and people-to-people interaction,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry stated. 

“Pakistan attaches high importance to its fraternal ties with Afghanistan, rooted deep in shared history, faith, culture, values and traditions. 

“Pakistan fully supports all efforts for peace, stability and prosperity of the Afghan people. The visit of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah will contribute to further strengthening amity, brotherhood and close cooperation between the two countries,” read the statement.

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Bayat Foundation steps in to help vulnerable Surobi residents

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: September 27, 2020)

Afghan charity organization, the Bayat Foundation, stepped in to help needy Afghans again this week when they distributed food packages to victims of recent floods and conflict in the Surobi district of Kabul province.

According to Haji Mohammad Ismail, deputy head of the organization, “the Bayat Foundation continues its assistance to flood victims – the same as we did with aid to other flood-affected people in Parwan and Maidan Wardak [provinces].”

“Today we are distributing food supplies including flour, rice, cooking oil, and pasta to vulnerable [families] who have been affected by the recent flash floods in Surobi district of Kabul province,” he said.

In the past few months, dozens of families have been displaced in the Surobi district due to conflict and floods. As such, Surobi District Governor Shah Mahmood Ibrahimkhail welcomed the assistance and thanked the organization for its help. 

He also asked that the foundation, along with other organizations, continue to help vulnerable families in affected communities. 

Recipients of the foundation’s food packages also voiced their appreciation stating many people had lost everything in the recent floods and many have no shelter and some have no food. 

In late August close to 200 people died in flash floods that devastated large parts of 13 provinces in the country. 

Thousands of homes were either damaged or destroyed and scores of farmers lost crops following days of torrential rain. 

In addition to this, many communities in the same areas and in other parts of the country continue to be affected by the ongoing conflict. 

In a statement issued last week, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that as of September 20, more than 172,000 people had been displaced by conflict this year. 

An estimated 4.5 million people have been displaced since 2012, with many of them living in informal settlements with few, if any, basic social services.

OCHA also stated that the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan for Afghanistan requires US$1.1 billion, targeting more than 11 million people. To date, only $339 million has been received.


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