UNSC hails direct talks between Afghan government, Taliban

United Nations, July 11 (IANS) The UN Security Council has welcomed the direct talks in Pakistan between representatives of the Afghan government and Taliban, saying they represent “a step towards peace and reconciliation” in the country.

The members of the Security Council expressed their appreciation for “the constructive roles” played by the government of Pakistan, China, the US, and the international community, said a statement issued to the press here on Friday by the 15-nation Security Council.

The Security Council reiterated that women have a vital role to play in the peace process, as recognised in Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) and related resolutions, and therefore recalled the need for the full, equal and effective participation of women at all its stages, said the statement.

The Council members reaffirmed their commitment to support Afghanistan on its path towards peace, reconciliation, democracy and development, it added.

The first-ever face-to-face talks between a delegation of Afghan government peace body the High Peace Council (HPC) and Taliban representatives in Pakistan has been widely welcomed at home and abroad.

The much-awaited peace talks since the collapse of Taliban regime in late 2001, according to Afghan government, was held in Pakistan’s scenic town of Murree near Islamabad on Tuesday and both sides agreed to hold a second round of the talks after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Xinhua news agency reported.

Both the Afghan government and its people have welcomed the talks as the first step towards achieving lasting peace via peaceful means, reports said.

A four-member delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai represented Afghan government in the talks with Taliban.

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