He said peace needs unity, consensus, and inclusivity in words and in action.
“Peace needs sacrifices, and we are ready to fully engage with Taliban to discuss all issues.”
Abdullah stated that from now on, regular meetings of the leadership committee of the HCNR will take place to discuss the peace process.
He stated that the primary demand of the people of Afghanistan is the reduction of violence, and a permanent ceasefire.
“The people of Afghanistan demand peace, and an end to war, violence and bloodshed. We have to end the war, and open a new peaceful chapter in our country. I do not have any personal agenda in seeking peace. My aim and only aim is a permanent peace in Afghanistan,” he said.
Abdullah stated the HCNR is committed to a just, lasting, and inclusive peace in Afghanistan. “We have the political will, and the support of the people to do so. However, peace doesn’t mean a return to the past. We are seeking a peace that offers a dignified future for everyone.”
“We are calling for a permanent ceasefire. War destroys the country, and everyone, but peace will guarantee a future for everyone,” he said.
According to him, the release of Taliban prisoners a few months ago had been a bold step and one that demonstrates that the people of Afghanistan are ready to make sacrifices if needed.
But he said both sides have to agree on how to preserve the achievements of the past, and at the same time move forward and have a political settlement.
“There might be a time that requires the decision of the people of Afghanistan, at that point we shall decide collectively on how to consult the people.”
Abdullah also thanked the United States, the European Union, NATO, Islamic countries, the IOC, regional countries, and Qatar for supporting the peace process.
“I thank the Republic’s negotiation team for their tireless efforts, and representing the republic. I also thank the Taliban negotiation team for their cooperation.
“I assure the Republic’s negotiation team that they enjoy the full support of the people of Afghanistan and the High Council for National Reconciliation.”
Former Jihadi leader Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf also addressed the meeting and said peace is a responsibility and that Afghans want peace with dignity – where the country’s national sovereignty is preserved and stated that he was ready to support the efforts of the reconciliation council.
Afghanistan’s former president Hamid Karzai also spoke and said “the people of Afghanistan have suffered a lot and now is the time for peace to come to the country. Peace is achieved when Afghans maintain unity and solidarity. It is the duty of Afghans to stop the bloodshed in Afghanistan.”
President Ashraf Ghani also addressed the landmark meeting and said there is a need for more consultations as the negotiations move forward.
He said that following this week’s breakthrough in the Doha talks deadlock, talks had now moved into the second phase.
“The first step showed that the task was not easy, but it came to fruition,” he said.