National security advisors attending a quadrilateral meeting between Afghanistan, United States, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates discussed the details of direct talks with the Taliban and another ceasefire, the national security advisor’s spokesman said on Wednesday.
The spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Qadir Shah said a joint action plan on counter-terrorism, peace and regional cooperation was finalized between the four nations at the meeting. He said this plan will be implemented after being ratified by leaders of the countries.
“The meeting focused on fighting terrorism, supporting peace talks and regional cooperation. And the joint action plan was approved after much discussion. It will be implemented once approved by the leaders of the (four) countries,” said Shah.
Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar attended the day-long meeting, where the officials agreed that Saudi Arabia and the UAE will put political, religious and economic pressure on Pakistan to help the Afghan peace process.
The officials agreed to hold more meeting in future and that the next round will be held within the next three months. But no venue has yet been specified.
Asked whether such meetings were of any use, one MP Sadiqi Nili Zada said: “Countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE can put financial and political pressure on Pakistan which can be effective.”
This was the second meeting between the national security advisors from the four countries. The last meeting was in March in Washington.
At the time, the Afghan national security council said Atmar attended a four-day quadrilateral meeting with officials from these countries and discussed the fight against terrorism, the Afghan peace process and the country’s economic development.
National security advisers had decided to identify the issue of terrorist financing and to take common action to eliminate them, the NSC said at the time.
At this meeting, consultations and shared responsibilities were discussed about a specific mechanism needed among the four countries.
This came after US Department of State’s Senior Bureau Official for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Ambassador attended meetings in Qatar and met with Al Attiyah, along with other high-ranking officials to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
According to the US State Department’s spokesperson, Heather Nauert: “I can tell you that our senior bureau official for SCA, Alice Wells, is returning today (Tuesday) from Doha, Qatar, and that’s where she’s been meeting with the – she met with the deputy prime minister. She also met with other government officials to talk about their contributions to the situation in Afghanistan.
“Qatar has been an important and valuable partner in that. They have helped with training and equipping, they have helped with supplies, things of that nature that are obviously needed by coalition partners to help facilitate what is going on right there,” she added.
Referring to the recent successful ceasefire over Eid al-Fitr, Nauert said: “I know some folks in the media and around the world have pooh-poohed that ceasefire that lasted a few days, but our view on this, if you can get a ceasefire that lasts a few days, perhaps you could get another one that lasts a little bit longer, and that gives the people of Afghanistan hope.”