Lakhdar Brahimi, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, today confirmed that a meeting of various Afghan groups and other interested players was set for next week in Germany – a development that was immediately welcomed by members of the United Nations Security Council.
“We hope we have an agreement now for meeting,” Mr. Brahimi told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York after briefing the Security Council behind closed doors. “The participants are going to gather over the weekend, and the meeting will start hopefully on Monday.”
Reacting to the news, Council President Ambassador Patricia Durrant of Jamaica said in a press statement that the body’s 15 members welcomed the convening of the meeting “as an indispensable first step towards the establishment of a broad-based representative government in Afghanistan.” She added that the members encouraged all parties to participate in this meeting “in good faith and without preconditions.”
Mr. Brahimi said he had been “encouraged” by the statements of various parties. “We hope that this will be the beginning we’ve been looking for to end the conflict in Afghanistan and start building new institutions in the country.” He stressed that the UN would assist the Afghans themselves in this process.
“I very, very much hope that out of this meeting, we will take some concrete decisions,” he said. “Kabul is now open, and the Northern Alliance themselves are saying that they want a moral representative body to govern.”
Mr. Brahimi said the meeting would be attended by four “processes,” namely the Northern Alliance, composed of several parties united in fighting the Taliban; the Rome process, built around the King; the recent Peshawar Convention; and the Cyprus group, involving refugees and the Afghan diaspora. “We have convinced them that they should get together and form one single process,” he said.