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UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres welcomes temporary ceasefire by Afghanistan, urges Taliban to reciprocate

United Nations: UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres welcomed the week-long ceasefire announced by the Afghanistan government with the Taliban and called on the militant group to reciprocate the temporary pause.

File image of Antonio Guterres. AP.

File image of Antonio Guterres. AP.

The ceasefire, announced by the Afghan government starts on 12 June and will run through the end of Ramadan to the fifth day of Eid-ul-Fitr. The international military presence in the country has also indicated that it will honour the pause in fighting.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Guterres urged the Taliban to “accept President Ashraf Ghani's peace offer to commence direct talks to bring an end to the long suffering of the Afghan people.”

It said the secretary-general urges the Taliban to reciprocate the temporary ceasefire.

He also expressed the world organisation's solidarity with the people and government of Afghanistan and said that the UN “remains committed to supporting an Afghan-led peace process.”

In a separate statement, the UN secretary-general's special representative for Afghanistan and head of United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Tadamichi Yamamoto commended the Afghan authorities for the preparedness they expressed “to initiate, in good faith, any steps toward a formal peace process.”

“The way forward must not rely on a military solution but rather a democratic process,” he said.

The ceasefire follows the Afghan government's call for unconditional peace talks with the Taliban at the Kabul Process II conference in the Afghan capital in February this year, according to UNAMA.

The announcement also comes on the back of calls by more than 2,000 religious scholars who had gathered this week in the capital, Kabul, to denounce the ongoing conflict and urge all warring sides to embrace peace, added the UN mission.

Updated Date: Jun 08, 2018 11:31 AM

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