Afghan peace summit in Istanbul postponed, Turkish Foreign Ministry announces

The summit, originally scheduled between April 24 – May 4, is planned to be held after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced.

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The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated that the long-anticipated Afghan peace summit had been postponed. Speaking in a televised interview, Çavuşoğlu said that “Following consultations with Qatar, the United States, and the United Nations, we decided to postpone the talks.” According to the Turkish Foreign Minister’s statement, it is believed that the postponement would be useful.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry also issued a statement regarding the postponement. In a statement, it was stated that the decision was taken in light of recent developments and extensive consultations with the parties.

The meeting initially was determined to be held between April 24 – May 4. It aims to reach an agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government before the deadline for the US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, which has recently been announced would be completed by September 11. The summit will be held with the sponsorship of the UN and Qatar, alongside Turkey.

Following the announcement, some reports have started to circulate claiming that the postponement came after the Taliban refused to attend. Reuters reported, quoting a senior Afghan government official whose name was not provided, that the meeting was postponed due to the Taliban refusing to attend. Al Jazeera, additionally, published an article, seemingly confirming the postponement arising from the Taliban’s refusal. Quoting from the Turkish Foreign Minister, Al Jazeera reported that the conference would be meaningless without the Taliban joining.

On the other hand, it was reported that upon the request to comment, the Taliban spokesperson Mohammad Naeem told Reuters in a text message that the group did not have any information about the postponement. Previously, the Taliban announced that it refused to attend any talks as long as foreign troops in Afghanistan remained.

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