Afghanistan

Statement by UN envoy Deborah Lyons on start of Afghanistan peace talks

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KABUL - The United Nations family in Afghanistan welcomes upcoming face-to-face peace talks between Afghan parties in Doha, Qatar. The suffering of the Afghan people has gone on for far too long. The UN joins the country’s brave and resilient people in urging all Afghan leaders and negotiators to seize this historic opportunity to end the fighting and usher in a new era of peace and prosperity.

Tomorrow’s opening event can be the start of something truly momentous. Negotiators from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban have a unique opportunity to save the lives of many of their compatriots and to lift the country out of poverty and misery. We wish them every success and the United Nations will be there to support them, as required.

It has taken enormous effort and many difficult decisions for parties to come together at the peace table. It is of vital importance that everyone supports them in these intra-Afghan negotiations to act with commitment and determination to achieve the result so desired by the Afghan people. Their determination to succeed should reflect the relentless determination of the Afghan people to survive these many years of destructive conflict.

It is up to Afghans to decide their own future, but the regional partners and the international community have a critical role to play in assisting them. A stable Afghanistan will allow millions of displaced Afghans to return to their homes in safety and dignity, contribute to the development of the whole region, and help remove the connected threats of terrorism and narcotics.

While the ultimate goal of the talks is to silence the guns forever, an immediate and unconditional reduction in violence would create a more conducive environment for constructive talks. In the context of the health and economic challenges posed by COVID-19, poverty and natural disasters, a humanitarian pause to the fighting would enable critical humanitarian support to reach the many millions requiring assistance across all areas of the country, as well as provide an opening for Afghans to start to rebuild their lives and livelihoods and give their children hope.

An inclusive peace process, involving the meaningful participation of women, youth and victims, upholding the human rights of every Afghan is the only path to peace.