United Nations: The UN Security Council has welcomed the recently held direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban as a step towards "peace and reconciliation" in the war-torn country.
In a statement to the press issued yesterday, the 15-member Council said it encouraged the parties in the talks to continue building on their efforts through "an inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned dialogue" while also voicing appreciation for the "constructive roles" played by the Governments of Pakistan, China and the US.
The members welcomed the direct talks "as a step towards peace and reconciliation. They encouraged the parties in the talks to continue building on these efforts through an inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned dialogue" as laid forth in the Kabul Conference communique, the statement said.
The talks held on July 7 in Pakistan are just the first step in a series of confidence-building negotiations between the Afghan government and the group.
In addition to welcoming the engagement between the two sides, the Security Council also reiterated the "vital role" that women have to play in the peace process and recalled the need for "the full, equal and effective participation of women at all its stages."
The members of the Council reaffirmed their commitment to supporting Afghanistan on its path towards peace, reconciliation, democracy and development.
The Council's statement follows that of UN Special Representative in Afghanistan Nicholas Haysom who suggested that the talks could be recognised as the outcome of the recent concerted efforts at rebuilding relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.