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The UN Security Council in a statement on Friday welcomed the start of intra-Afghan talks in Doha, saying it strongly reaffirms its commitments to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan.

The direct peace negotiations between the negotiating teams of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban are about to start in Doha as the two sides have held few meetings in small-group set up called the “contact groups” to discuss rules and regulations for direct talks. The opening ceremony of the negotiations was held in Doha on September 12 in which Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation also attended. According to TOLOnews reporter Karim Amini, the “contact groups” will hold their next meeting on Saturday.

“The members of the Security Council recognized that sustainable peace can be achieved only through a comprehensive and inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process that aims at a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire as well as an inclusive political settlement to end the conflict in Afghanistan. The members of the Security Council strongly encouraged parties to the negotiations to continue pursuing confidence-building measures including reductions in violence, and to continue to engage in good faith,” said the statement.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the importance of the United Nations’ role in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and welcomed the efforts of all regional and international partners of Afghanistan in facilitating intra-Afghan negotiations and in helping the parties reach peace. The members of the Security Council thanked the Government of Qatar for facilitating the first round of negotiations, according to the statement.

“The members of the Security Council emphasized the importance of the implementation of its relevant resolutions, including resolution 2513 (2020),” the statement said.