Oslo Conference an opportunity for talking peace

Create: 06/16/2015 - 09:25

KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghan government and Taliban delegates took part in an international conference, attended by foreign ministers from 150 countries, on June 15-16 in Oslo on ways of ending conflicts.
Norway said there were no plans yet for official peace negotiations between the warring sides. "There's no plan for formal peace talks. If you want to reach peace, those who disagree must talk together," Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said.
In Kabul, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Afghan government had sent a six-member team to the conference at Losby, attended by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Iranian Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, confirmed in a statement a three-member delegation of the movement attended the informal meeting. However, he ruled out direct talks with the rulers on how to put an end to the war.
Reports about face-to-face talks were untrue, Mujahid said, adding the participants in the conference would express their views on the turmoil and problems in Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan.
Norway also verified hosting the informal talks in early June on Afghan’s women’s rights and education for girls. Government and Taliban delegates conferred on issues facing women.
The Oslo Forum was co-hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.The event provided a unique opportunity for senior conflict mediators, decision-makers and other major actors in peace processes to share their experiences, identify challenges and reflect on practices in a discreet setting.
The Afghan government was represented by a six-member delegation, including Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mohammad Mohaqiq and Deputy Foreign Minister Hikmat Khalil Karzai. Former vice president Yunus Qanuni, ex-commerce minister Anwar-ul-Haq Ahady, then minister of women affairs Hassan Bano Ghazanfar and High Peace Council member Farhadullah Farhad were part of the government team.
In recent months, the Taliban have participated in several regional and international conferences, including the Pugwash meeting in Qatar, talks with HPC members in China and negotiations with Afghan women’s representatives in Oslo.
Another meeting between Afghan officials and a Taliban delegation took in Dubai. Apparently, the Taliban want to convey through such meetings the message that they believe the negotiations.