“HIA Peace Deal Proved Success of Intra-Afghan Dialogue,” President Ghani

Saturday July 15, 2017

Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani at the Presidential Palace met his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who arrived on a surprise visit to Kabul at the head of a high level delegation here on Thursday. A statement from the Presidential Palace quoted President Ghani as saying that relations between Afghanistan and Germany had a long history, expressing his pleasure over celebrating the 100th of anniversary of relationship between the two countries. President Ghani expressed concern over a recent deadly attack near the German Embassy in Kabul and said providing security to diplomats and the diplomatic enclave was a priority.
Meanwhile President Ghani praised the German forces for their sacrifices in Afghanistan and said they valued their role in the ongoing NATO mission to train and advise the Afghan forces. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani also offered German car-manufacturing companies to survey lithium deposits in southern Helmand province in order to benefit from the soft metal in making cars. The German president welcomed their warm reception and hospitability extended to them on arrival in Afghanistan. Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he first travelled to northern Balkh province and met troops from his country based in Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital.
He said German troops were fighting shoulder to shoulder with Afghan forces against terrorist elements. “They (German forces) told me the Afghan army is more organized and strengthened compared to the past and cooperation with the Afghans to build on their abilities will continue.”
The German leader thanked the Afghanistan government for its attention to security of diplomats and said German diplomats would normally continue their job. President Ghani said terrorism was threatening the region and the world and currently the menace’s nature and shape had changed and needed a global consensus and campaign. The President also said sufficient reforms had been brought to the Ministry of Defense and the process continued, however the focus had been on the Ministry of Interior in order to make both the security organs free of politics and professional. The president said the four-year security plan was ready and its implementation in cooperation with international partners would help further improve the capabilities of the Afghan security and defense forces.
The two sides also discussed upcoming parliamentary and district councils’ elections in Afghanistan in July next year.
President Ghani said the elections were of great importance for Afghanistan and thanked international partners, particularly Germany, of their cooperation in conducting the elections. The president hoped the elections would take place in a peaceful environment and in a transparent manner. About the ‘Kabul process’ and the High Peace Council’s activities, the president said the Afghan government was committed to establishing peace in the war-torn country. The peace agreement with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar proved that intra-Afghan dialogue could succeed, said Ghani, vowing to implement the peace deal with the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan. The president once again said their priority was making peace with Pakistan first before negotiating the same with the Taliban because the rebels had no any leadership. Ghani said time was running out for the Taliban to choose between peace and war, asking insurgents to reach a conclusion soon.

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