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Qatar –Taliban representation (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - 05.01.12)

Q. Could you clarify France’s position regarding the expected opening of a Taliban office in Qatar and Hamid Karzai’s reticence regarding this issue? Does France believe that this initiative could distance the Afghan government from talks with the Taliban?

A. France has long supported a political solution to the Afghan crisis. It has always affirmed that responsibility for the peace talks and the efforts to achieve national reconciliation lies with the Afghan authorities.

At the London and Kabul Conferences last year, the international community lent its support to President Karzai in his determination to make progress toward a reconciliation process that involves all components of Afghan society. We support the initiatives that may contribute to this process.

The Afghan government and all components of Afghan society seeking a peace agreement have wanted, for a long time now, to have a clearly identified Taliban interlocutor. The opening of the Taliban office in Qatar, if it is confirmed, could respond to this expectation, and constitute a step forward in the political process that should result in free presidential elections in 2014. President Karzai has agreed to the negotiations which will lead to the creation of this office.

The inter-Afghan reconciliation process should allow those individuals, who are ready to break from international terrorism, renounce violence and respect the constitution, to become part of the legal framework. We are attentive to this point and to the respect, within the framework of any discussion process, of democratic achievements.


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