US seeks UN Council backing of Afghan peace deal: diplomats
The United States has begun discussions with the UN Security Council’s other members on a draft resolution that would endorse the unusual peace deal it signed with the Taliban, diplomats said.
In the initial draft of the proposed resolution, which was obtained Thursday by AFP, the Security Council welcomes the agreement signed in Doha on February 29.
It calls on “all states, in particular those in the region, to provide their full support to promoting the successful negotiation of a comprehensive and sustainable peace agreement.”
So far, it’s unclear where Russia and China stand on the US draft.
The US draft also puts pressure on the Afghan government to hold negotiations with the Taliban to reach “a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.”
The Doha agreement provides for the government’s release of 5,000 prisoners in exchange for 1,000 to be freed by the Taliban.
But on Sunday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he did not consider himself bound by that commitment.
The inter-Afghan negotiations mentioned in the US draft are supposed to commence at a conference set for next week in Oslo.
The two-page US draft says that once those talks begin, the Security Council would be prepared to review sanctions imposed on individuals or groups since 2011 “in order to support the peace process.”
The US-Taliban peace deal opens the way for the withdrawal of all US troops in Afghanistan after more than 18 years of war, in return for the Taliban’s pledge to ban all acts of terrorism and to enter into peace negotiations with Kabul.
The conflict has claimed the lives of between 32,000 and 60,000 Afghan civilians, according to the United Nations, and more than 1,900 US troops.
An uptick in Taliban attacks on Afghan government forces since the signing has been roundly condemned by Washington.
But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that he still had confidence that Taliban insurgents are committed to the deal.
Diplomats said the United States appears to want to move quickly on the proposed UN Security Council resolution.
One diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the US push for a UN Security Council resolution endorsing an agreement between a government and an insurgent group as “truly a singular case.”
Western powers might have “many reservations,” the diplomat said, but they are unlikely to oppose their American ally.
The diplomat questioned whether the Council, especially Russia and China, would be willing to endorse an agreement whose clauses on the anti-terrorist fight remain secret.