nCa News and Commentary
Today, on the 6th of April 2021, a meeting was held in Ashgabat between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov and the Afghan delegation headed by the Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Qasim Halimi who has arrived to Turkmenistan on a working visit.
During the talks, the parties confirmed the high level of interstate relations, where the humanitarian cooperation holds a special place.
Minister Mohammad Qasim Halimi underlined the importance of the fraternal support of Turkmenistan to Afghanistan and its people that is reflected in numerous projects of economic and cultural-humanitarian scope.
He also emphasized the humaneness and efficiency of the neutral policy pursued by the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov aimed at the promotion of peaceful and friendly relations between countries and people.
In this regard, Minister Halimi highlighted the importance of the social facilities built on the territory of Afghanistan in support of the Turkmen side, particularly the mosque in the Faryab province that has become the symbol of friendship between the two countries.
An exchange of views took place on the current state and prospects of the peace process development in Afghanistan.
The readiness of the Turkmen side to facilitate the advancement of the process through political and diplomatic methods was again reiterated.
The parties discussed the opportunities of cooperation between the two countries on education, science and culture. /// MFA Turkmenistan, 6 Apr
Turkmenistan remains fully committed to lasting and robust peace in Afghanistan. The offer of Turkmenistan to host the Afghan peace talks was made several times in the past and it was reiterated this Tuesday during the meeting of the Afghan delegation with the deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Turkmenistan, Rashid Meredov, in Ashgabat.
Turkmenistan is arguably the best place for holding intra-Afghan peace talks.
It is also important to acknowledge that the present format of nomadic talks – moving from country to country – is not the fastest way to peace. In every new location there are the risks of new kinds of meddling.
There are several reasons why Turkmenistan is best suited for intra-Afghan peace talks. Seven of them stand out:
- The Tajik peace accord of 1997 was achieved because of a very productive round of talks hosted by Ashgabat among the warring factions. The present government of Tajikistan came into existence as a result of those talks and the peace continues to hold to this day.
- The peace talks between the Taliban and Northern Alliance in December 2000 came very close to a solution of the situation in Afghanistan. Turkmenistan delivered on its promise to provide environment for independent dialogue between the parties. As to why it fell through, we have explained that in some of our reports in the past.
- Turkmenistan has at least two locations where the intra-Afghan dialogue can be held without any interference whatsoever. One is Serhetabat (formerly Kushka) and the other is a settlement near Imamnazar. Both of these locations can be easily cordoned off to prevent the entry of anyone who is not a party to the dialogue.
- Both Serhetabat and Imamnazaar are right at the border with Afghanistan. There is road connection across the borders at both of these locations. This makes it easy for all the parties of intra-Afghan dialogue to travel back and forth with very little expense. Maximum participation can be ensured. This is especially relevant during these times of restricted travel.
- The sanitary conditions at Serhetabat and Imamnazar are good already and it can be made sure that no infectious diseases are caught by the participants of the dialogue. For the health security, these locations are the best option.
- Everyone – all the parties of the intra-Afghan dialogue – trust Turkmenistan. This trust has been earned because of the consistent commitment to peace during the past three decades.
- The neutrality of Turkmenistan, endorsed and acknowledged by the world community, is itself a guarantee for free and unhindered intra-Afghan peace dialogue.
For anyone who is genuinely committed to peace in Afghanistan, it is important to take the offer of Turkmenistan seriously. /// nCa, 7 April 2021