'Adjustment' of Constitution Prominent on Paris Agenda: National Coalition Spokesman

News - Afghanistan


A spokesman for the National Coalition said that "adjustment" of the Afghan Constitution is expected to be the main focus of the Paris peace talks, whose organizers have been tight-lipped about details of its agenda.

"The main point of discussions is the adjustment of the Constitution and the election law, in addition to the prepared agenda that includes Afghanistan's ties with Pakistan and the country's security situation after 2014," National Coalition Spokesman Fazlurahman Orya said.

Orya's comments come as one of the major demands of the Afghan government and international community before a peace agreement has been that the Taliban accept the Constitution as it is and respect its provisions about women's rights.

Orya's party will be represented at the talks by former parliament speaker Mohammad Younos Qanooni, Homayoun Shah Asifi and Nurulhaq Olomi.

Former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Mullah Abdulsalam Zaeef, Taliban envoy in Qatar Tayeb Agha, former Taliban negotiator with the Northern Alliance Shahabuddin Delawar and Naeem Wardak will represent the Taliban.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's son-in-law Ghairat Bahir will represent Hizb-e-Islami's belligerent faction.

Jilani Popal, Sayed Hamid Gilani and Hekmat Karzai will represent the government.

Hakimullah Mujahid, Massom Stanekzai and Azizullah Din Mohammad will represent the High Peace Council.

Other participants include Ahmad Zia Massoud, Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq and Faizullah Zaki from the National Front Party; Mohammad Hanif Atmar from the Rights and Justice Party; Farkhonda Zahra Nadiri and Nelofar Ibrahimi from the parliament; and Nader Nadery, former commissioner of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

The talks come as a senior member of the High Peace Council recently expressed strong pessimism about Paris.

"The High Peace Council welcomes any peace negotiation, but I think this meeting will have no positive results in bringing peace because the Taliban have clearly stated they don't want to negotiate peace," Deputy Chair of the Afghan High Peace Council Ataullah Lodin said.

The Taliban have also strongly denied they will participate in any talks with the Afghan government in Paris, insisting that they will only be articulating their demands.

The government's so-called representatives are not attending the talks in an official capacity.

Although significant for having broad representation from most of Afghanistan's major stakeholders, the meeting is seemingly being held amid a general air of pessimism.

"Such kind of meetings cannot solve Afghanistan's problems. I believe the meeting is symbolic unless the UN and international community support the country's peace process with Taliban. I ask the United Nations to lead the negotiations," National Front Party Member Mohammad Natiqi said.

Former Taliban foreign minister Wakil Ahmad Motawakil sounded a note of caution against unrealistic expectations at peace talks.

"To bring peace in Afghanistan is a necessity but some unreliable reports have made people doubtful about peace because the media broadcast incorrect reports," Motawakil said.

Although Pakistan is expected to play a key role in Afghanistan's peace process, it does not have any representative in Paris.

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