Friday, 21 December 2018
source: shiitenews

Saudi ambassador to US and King Salman’s son Prince Khalid said that peace talks held in Abu Dhabi where Saudi and Pakistani officials also attended would yield very positive results by the beginning of next year. However, US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad doesn’t trust Taliban and also doubts their sincerity.
The ambassador Khalid Bain Salman of Saudi Kingdom tweeted that the talks were productive and would “help promote intra-Afghan dialogue towards ending the conflict”.
The talks in Abu Dhabi earlier this week were also hailed by the United Arab Emirates as “positive for all parties concerned”.
Although Pakistan too claims peace talks its own success, US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad raised doubts about the Taliban’s desire to end the 17-year war, after the militants refused to meet a Kabul-backed negotiating team. He said the Taliban not meeting 12-person Afghan delegation was a wrong decision.
“If the Taliban are really seeking peace, they have to sit with the Afghan government ultimately to reach an agreement on the future political settlement in Afghanistan,” he said.
While he was certain the Afghan government wanted to stop the conflict, Khalilzad told Ariana News that he questioned whether the Taliban were “genuinely seeking peace”.
“We have to wait and see their forthcoming steps,” he said, according to a translation of the interview provided by the US embassy in Kabul. Khalilzad’s remarks to Afghan media following his latest face-to-face meeting with the Taliban echoed those expressed privately by some Western diplomats in the capital.
The Taliban have long refused to talk directly to the Afghan government, which they accuse of being a puppet of the United States.
In a message released on Tuesday the militants said they had held “preliminary talks” with Khalilzad on Monday. They also said they had held “extensive” meetings with officials from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, repeating demands for international forces to be withdrawn from Afghanistan.
Those three countries were the only ones to recognise the Taliban’s 1996-2001 regime.

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