(TOLO News): The Afghan Foreign Ministry said Saturday that no date has yet been finalized for the peace summit in Beijing.
This intra-Afghan meeting was originally planned to be held in Beijing, China, late last month, but it was delayed. Sources say that both the Taliban and Afghan officials will attend the meeting. The Afghan government announced last week that it had set up a delegation to attend the meeting in Beijing, but it declined to share the names of the delegates. Gran Hewad, the Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman speaking in a conference today said that soon the final date will be shared. “Date and list of participants will be announced soon … No final date yet,” Hewad said. Meanwhile, the House Speaker and a number of parliament members say that no conference on peace will have legitimacy without the approval and presence of the Afghan House of Representatives. “I didn’t appoint a delegation. Nobody consulted me. I only knew about peace from the TV and social media,” said Mir Rahman Rahmani, the House speaker. A planned but so far unsuccessful prisoner swap between Anas Haqqani and two other Haqqani Network commanders in exchange for two American University professors was supposed set the stage for peace talks, but the deal did not take place and the Haqqani commanders were returned to Bagram Air Base. Presidential spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said today that the exchange did not happen because the Taliban had not “complied” with the conditions of the Afghan government. However, Ismail Youn, one of the seven who had recently visit Qatar and had talks with Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and other Taliban representatives for four days, said the group was ready to negotiate with any political faction. “They (the Taliban) made it clear to us that ‘we are willing to talk to those people who have a negative perception about us,’” said Youn.