Zarif, Haneef Atmar discuss political impasse in Afghanistan

May 1, 2020 - 19:0

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held a phone conversation with acting Afghan foreign minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar on Thursday, discussing political impasse in the country.

The officials also exchanged views on fighting the coronavirus and also bilateral relations.

Zarif held a separate phone talks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday to discuss the latest developments in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Ministry website reported on Wednesday that Zarif held separate phone conversations with interim president Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah to discuss the situation in the country.

Afghanistan has been facing a political deadlock since last September’s presidential elections. The Election Commission has declared Ghani as the winner but Abdullah has also proclaimed himself winner.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the talks were in line with Iran’s efforts to help break the political deadlock in the country through talks between rival factions.

According to TOLOnews, Afghan second vice president Mohammad Sarwar Danesh spoke of efforts to resolve the political tensions between Ghani and Abdullah in a conversation with the new UNAMA head Deborah Lyons, the vice president’s media office said in a statement on Thursday.

According to the statement, the VP said that in the video conversation with Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, the peace process was also discussed.

Efforts to consolidate unity and cooperation within the framework of the "National Participation Government" will reach a final agreement in "the next few days" between both Abdullah and Ghani, said Danesh to Lyons, and Abdullah will take over the leadership of the High Reconciliation Council.

Earlier, sources told TOLOnews that Abdullah was insisting that he be given the High Reconciliation Council leadership, 50 percent of the government's executive powers, a 50 percent share in the cabinet and the authority to appoint governors and police commanders in half of the provinces--where more votes were cast for him during the election.

Regarding the peace talks, Danesh said that the Afghan government has taken the "first steps" towards intra-Afghan talks by appointing a negotiating team, reducing violence and releasing a number of Taliban prisoners, but the Taliban has "not taken any step" but instead has escalated violence in the country.

Emphasizing that intra-Afghan talks will not be a simple and easy process, the vice president stressed the "important" role of Afghanistan's international partners, especially the United Nations, in the process of those talks.

On the other hand Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen on Thursday announced: "As another step, 12 more soldiers of the (Afghan government) were released in Kunduz...today," including "4 soldiers who had been sent to hospitals earlier on bail for their injuries and illness. This brings to 52 the number of prisoners released today."

On Thursday the European Union (EU) reiterated its appeal to Afghan political leaders, referring to Ghani and his rival Abdullah, to settle their political differences as soon as possible and focus their efforts on Afghanistan's national interests; otherwise, future aid funding might be affected.

"As friends and major donors to Afghanistan, we...expressed concern that lack of progress may negatively affect future funding for the security and development of the country," said the EU mission in Kabul.

NA/PA
 

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