Intra-Afghan talks enter key general dialogue
At the maiden meeting of landmark intra-Afghan talks in Qatar on Tuesday, the warring parties made decisions on the agenda and protocol prepared by their respective working groups.
After the talks in the capital Doha, Taliban and Afghan government representatives issued a rare joint statement from the talks saying: "It was decided to finalize the remaining part ASAP. Schedule & timing of daily meetings are discussed too.
"Two point persons for coordination were introduced from each sides. Heads of delegations reiterated the need for patience and tolerance as we move forward in this path."
Earlier in the day, Nader Nadery, a senior member of the Afghan government's delegation, made a series of tweets in Pashto, Dari and English:
"Making peace is complicated process but possible. IRA (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) negotiation team meets to discuss report of last night meeting of contact group," tweeted Nadery, the head of Afghanistan's Administrative Reforms and Civil Service Commission.
Both sides had agreed to hold the general dialogue without the "interference" of any foreigner behind closed doors, local Salam Afghanistan radio quoted multiple delegates from both sides saying.
The crucial intra-Afghan peace talks in the Gulf state follow a US-Taliban deal reached in February. The two sides are aiming for political reconciliation and an end to decades of violence.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the inaugural session on Saturday that democracy has worked best for the US and many other nations, but there is "no one size fits all."
He added, however, that the scope and size of future US assistance to Afghanistan is conditional on the future "choices and conduct" of Afghans.
"So I cannot strongly enough urge you: Seize this opportunity. Protect this process. Respect each other. Be patient."