Tag Archives: peace

Iran hosts Taliban peace talks, eyeing opening after US drawdown

Iran hosts Taliban peace talks, eyeing opening after US drawdownThe Taliban discussed Afghanistan's "post-occupation situation" with Iran in their latest meeting, the group said Tuesday, as Tehran makes a more concerted and open push for peace ahead of a possible US drawdown. The remarks come after Iran confirmed Monday that the Taliban had visited Tehran for a second round of talks in just a few days that are aimed at ending the 17-year conflict. The Taliban delegation discussed with Iran "the post-occupation situation, restoration of peace and security in Afghanistan and the region", the militants said in a statement posted on social media and emailed to journalists. It signals a growing confidence among the Taliban for US troops to pull out of Afghanistan, after US officials last month told various media outlets that President Donald Trump had decided to slash the number of boots on the ground. There have been reports in the past of talks between Iran and the Taliban, but they have typically been denied by Tehran. Afghan National Army soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint ahead of parliamentary elections, in Kabul, Afghanistan Credit: AP Tehran's peace push will be viewed with concern by hawks in Washington, who fear that Trump's planned withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan will cede regional influence to Iran. The Taliban also met with the United States, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in the United Arab Emirates earlier in December as part of a flurry of diplomatic efforts to end the war. But the Taliban refused to meet a delegation from Afghanistan. The group said Saturday its representatives would not meet "with those of the Kabul administration" at the next meeting expected to be held in Saudi Arabia later this month. Iran's deputy foreign ministry Abbas Araghchi will travel to Afghanistan in the next two weeks, the foreign ministry said, without giving further details. Iran and Afghanistan share a nearly 600-mile border, and have had a complex relationship in recent years. Tehran has long supported its co-religionists in Afghanistan, the Shia Hazara minority, who were violently persecuted by the Taliban during its rule in the 1990s. Iran worked alongside the United States and Western powers to help drive out the Taliban after the US-led invasion in 2001. But there have been allegations, from Western and Afghan sources, that Iran's Revolutionary Guards have in recent years established ties with the Taliban aimed at driving out US forces from Afghanistan.



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Iran says Afghan Taliban were in Tehran for peace talks

Iran says Afghan Taliban were in Tehran for peace talksIran said Monday that the Afghan Taliban have visited Tehran for a second round of peace talks in just a few days aimed at bringing an end to 17 years of conflict. Iran has made a more concerted and open push for peace in neighbouring Afghanistan since US President Donald Trump indicated there would be a significant withdrawal of American troops. “Yesterday (Sunday), a delegation of Taliban were in Tehran and lengthy negotiations were held with Iran’s deputy foreign minister… (Abbas) Araghchi,” said spokesman Bahram Ghasemi at a televised news conference.



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Putin Says Russia, Turkey Will Play a ‘Decisive' Role in Syria Peace

Putin Says Russia, Turkey Will Play a ‘Decisive' Role in Syria PeaceIn a New Year’s message to Erdogan published by the Kremlin on Sunday, Putin said that “Moscow and Ankara are making a decisive contribution to the fight against terrorism in Syria, as well as to the promotion of a political settlement in that country.”His comment came a day after the Russian and Turkish foreign and defense ministers, as well as the countries’ intelligence chiefs, held talks in Moscow on Syria as they move to fill the void left by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to order a military pullout. “We reached an agreement on how Russian and Turkish military representatives on the ground will continue to coordinate their actions in these new conditions, with the goal of decisively defeating the terrorist threat in Syria,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after the talks.



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Pope Francis issues plea for peace in the Middle East in Christmas Day address

Pope Francis issues plea for peace in the Middle East in Christmas Day addressPope Francis has used his traditional Christmas Day address urging people to overcome their religious and cultural differences to end conflict in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East. Delivering his sixth “Urbi et Orbi” address to 50,000 people gathered in Saint Peter’s Square on Tuesday, the pope said Jesus Christ had given the world “fraternity”  and differences should not be seen as a “detriment or a danger” but “a source of richness”. “My wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity,” the pope said. “All of us are brothers and sisters in humanity.” Just days after Donald Trump, the US president, announced he would withdraw American troops from Syria and urged Saudi Arabia to help rebuild the country, the pope called for an urgent political solution that would allow millions of Syrian refugees to return home. “May the international community work decisively for a political solution that can put aside divisions and partisan interests, so that the Syrian people, especially all those who were forced to leave their own lands and seek refuge elsewhere, can return to live in peace in their own country,” the pope said. "Urbi et Orbi" means "to the city and the world". Pope Francis waves after delivering the "Urbi et Orbi" message from the main balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica  Credit: REUTERS/Max Rossi The 82-year-old pontiff delivered his message as thousands of pilgrims gathered in brilliant sunshine to celebrate the birth of Christ amid tight security at the Vatican. Last week police in southern Italy arrested a Somali man suspected of having been a member of Islamic State and who had threatened to bomb churches in Italy, including St. Peter’s Basilica. After appealing for peace in Syria, the pope also called for a resumption of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians and a political solution in Yemen. Members of the Swiss Guard were present during the "Urbi et Orbi" message at the Vatican Credit: REUTERS/Max Rossi “My thoughts turn to Yemen, in the hope that the truce brokered by the international community may finally bring relief to all those children and people exhausted by war and famine,” the pope said. Francis also turned his attention to other hotspots in the world, calling for further rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula and peace in Ukraine which he said was “yearning to regain a lasting peace that is slow to come”. He also appealed for “social harmony” in Venezuela and reconciliation in Nicaragua. The pope’s concern for migrants and refugees was not overlooked. He called for an end to conflict in Africa “where millions of people are refugees, or displaced or in need of humanitarian assistance and food security”. Pope Francis prays in front of a Nativity scene Credit: Gregorio Borgia/AP On Christmas Eve the pope expressed his concern about the widening gap between rich and poor and the damage caused by “insatiable greed”. "An insatiable greed marks all human history, even today, when, paradoxically, a few dine luxuriantly while all too many go without the daily bread needed to survive," the pope said.



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Congo archbishop urges peace at Christmas Eve midnight mass

Congo archbishop urges peace at Christmas Eve midnight massKINSHASA, Congo (AP) — An appeal for peace during Congo's tense, volatile election period was issued at a Christmas Eve midnight mass in Kinshasa.



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Pakistan says US troop withdrawal 'step forward' in Afghan peace effort

Pakistan says US troop withdrawal 'step forward' in Afghan peace effortPakistan on Saturday welcomed President Donald Trump’s decision to slash US troop numbers in Afghanistan, calling it a step towards peace in the war-torn nation. The decision to pull around half of the 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan has stunned and dismayed diplomats and officials in Kabul, and comes amid a renewed push for talks with the Taliban to end the 17-year war. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the move was “a step forward” in the peace effort.



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U.S., Taliban Meet in U.A.E. to Discuss Afghanistan Peace

U.S., Taliban Meet in U.A.E. to Discuss Afghanistan PeaceRepresentatives from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the U.A.E. will also attend the meeting, Zabihullah Mujahed, a spokesman for the militant group, said in a statement released on late Sunday evening. Pakistan has also confirmed that talks will be taking place and hopes the meeting “will end bloodshed in Afghanistan and bring peace to the region,” Mohammad Faisal, a foreign ministry spokesman in Islamabad, said on Twitter.



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Afghanistan sends team to join Taliban peace talks in UAE

Afghanistan sends team to join Taliban peace talks in UAEAn Afghan peace negotiations team has arrived in Abu Dhabi, an official said Tuesday, a day after talks attended by US and Taliban representatives were held in the city aimed at ending the 17-year conflict. The team, led by chief negotiator Abdul Salam Rahimi, “arrived in Abu Dhabi to begin proximity dialogue with the Taliban delegation and to prepare for a face-to-face meeting between the two sides”, the Afghan presidential spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri tweeted. The 12-person team was first announced in November by President Ashraf Ghani as part of a diplomatic effort to bring the Taliban to the table for peace talks with the government in Kabul.



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Is Yemen finally on the road to peace?

Is Yemen finally on the road to peace?At the same time, the United Nations must prepare for critical discussions on a wider truce and a framework for political negotiations to end the conflict. The nearly four-year-old war, which has killed tens of thousands of people, pits the Iran-aligned Houthi group against other Yemeni factions fighting alongside the Saudi-led coalition trying to restore the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Houthis, who ousted Hadi’s administration from the capital Sanaa in 2014, and their coalition foes are due to start implementing the Hodeidah ceasefire on Tuesday.



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Lebanon's Aoun says Israeli anti-tunnel action no risk to peace

Lebanon's Aoun says Israeli anti-tunnel action no risk to peaceLebanese President Michel Aoun said on Tuesday he saw no risk to peace from an operation by Israel’s military to disable cross-border tunnels it says were dug into its territory by Hezbollah guerrillas. Israel says Hezbollah, Lebanon’s most powerful armed group, dug the tunnels with the aim of launching attacks into Israel with backing from its regional sponsor Iran. Hezbollah has yet to comment.



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