US Envoys Echo NATO’s Call for Afghan Peace

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BRUSSELS: US Ambassador to NATO Kay Hutchisen and US peace envoy Zalmay Khalizad both amplified NATO statement. The US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, yesterday welcomed NATO’s statement focused on “key next steps” for peace and stability in Afghanistan, including a humanitarian ceasefire amid COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

NATO “urged the Taliban to reduce violence, called on the Afghan govt to end the political crisis, and said all sides should move more quickly on prisoner releases,” said Khalilzad. “How urgently and with what conviction the sides respond to these steps will determine whether Afghanistan moves forward or remains mired in war, poverty, and disease,” said US envoy.

“The US-Taliban agreement provides a historic opportunity for Afghanistan,” Ambassador Khalilzad said, “and our allies, indeed the international community, call on Afghan leaders to put their country and their people first.”

Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, in a video message also emphasized the NATO statement, and called for action in Afghanistan so that a “historical” opportunity is not missed.

“The United States and our Allies call on the Taliban to reduce violence and enter into negotiations with the inclusive team that represents the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” she said.

The US envoy added that for the past 18 years, the United States and our NATO Allies have stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the people of Afghanistan and the Afghan defense forces fighting for a future of peace and security.

“Never before have we been so close to that goal. Now we have a historic chance to move the peace process forward.  —Agencies

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