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UN calls on Taliban to take up offer of direct talks

AFP  |  United Nations 

The to today urged the to take up an offer by the of direct talks on peace.

"The offer of negotiation is on the table," said at a meeting to mark the annual renewal of the UN mission to the war-torn country.

"It is now incumbent upon the to come forward with an offer of their own, and start direct talks with the government to put an end to the suffering of the Afghan people," he said.

"Making peace and reaching out to opponents requires resolve, courage and above all national unity," he added. "Political leaders need to place the national interest above partisan agenda."

He said he hoped that could be held in 2018 and a in 2019.

He also expressed concern about the growing number of civilian casualties at the hands of the Islamic State group in province.

The Assistance Mission in (UNAMA) was launched in March 2002 to help Afghans build a more stable and peaceful society, although 16 years later the country is still racked by violence and instability.

Afghan recently unveiled a plan to open talks with the Taliban, including eventually recognizing them as a political party.

In return, Ghani said the militants should officially recognize the and constitution, a perennial sticking point in past attempts to open talks.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 09 2018. 01:05 IST