UN chief hails landmark peace parley in Afghanistan

UN chief Ban Ki-moon hailed a landmark Afghanistan conference as a "significant step".

United Nations: UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Saturday
hailed a landmark Afghanistan conference as a "significant
step" in dialogue by bringing together leaders from across the
political and social spectrum.

"The secretary general congratulates the government of
Afghanistan and the participants of the consultative peace
jirga on the process and outcomes of this important three-day
dialogue," a UN statement said.

"This is a significant step toward reaching out to all
Afghan people to promote an inclusive dialogue aimed at
achieving stability and peace in Afghanistan," it added.

The world body said it remained fully committed to
working with the Afghan authorities and people as they strive
for a peaceful life.

Some 1,600 delegates attended the three-day "peace jirga"
in a giant tent and drew up a 16-point declaration in which
they urged all parties to disarm and reconcile.

Although symbolic, the lasting impact of the jirga, which
is a traditional Afghan gathering convened in times of
trouble, remains unclear.

The Taliban were not invited, tried to attack the opening
session with rockets and suicide bombers, and they have vowed
to boycott any negotiations until the 130,000 US-led foreign
troops leave Afghanistan.


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