Top diplomats of both sides, Mevlut Cavusoglu and Antony Blinken, discuss regional and bilateral issues as well as upcoming Istanbul meeting on Afghanistan.
Top diplomats of Turkey and US have held talks over a number of issues including peace process in Afghanistan and upcoming Istanbul summit, as Washington tries to drum up support for a ceasefire and peace settlement that could include an interim government while May 1 deadline to withdraw foreign troops looms.
During Monday's phone conversation, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the Afghanistan conflict and peace process besides a number of other issues.
"Had a useful and constructive phone call w/US Secretary of State @SecBlinken. Discussed bilateral issues on our agenda, #Afghanistan peace process, Istanbul Conference to be held in this regard, #Syria and the #MiddleEast," Cavusoglu said on Twitter.
The Afghan government announced on Sunday that a cohesive and unified peace strategy has been finalised for the forthcoming conference in Turkey.
Turkey is hosting a crucial meeting this month with the United Nations and Qatar as part of a US-backed push to jump-start the Afghan peace process.
Had a useful and constructive phone call w/US Secretary of State @SecBlinken. Discussed bilateral issues on our agenda, #Afghanistan peace process, Istanbul Conference to be held in this regard, #Syria and the #MiddleEast. pic.twitter.com/S9hInvPsBv— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) April 12, 2021
According to the country’s High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), the strategy is aimed at preserving democracy and fundamental rights and institutions in the country.
Earlier in the day, Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh told a public gathering in the capital Kabul that an agreement on democratic values, a ceasefire and the establishment of a "peace government" would top the agenda of the Istanbul conference.
On Saturday, Washington's special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad held separate meetings with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the HCNR, as well as other senior officials.
In his meeting with Abdullah, the US official said the world expects “Afghanistan to attend the Istanbul Conference with a uniform strategy," the HCNR said in a separate statement.
Earlier this week, Ghani proposed the formation of a transitional government to push forward the peace process.
No date has been announced yet for the proposed Istanbul conference, but it is likely to be held later this month.
Taliban on Turkey summit
"We can't take part in Turkey's conference on 16 April...and we already told Turkey this," Taliban spokesman Mohammed Naeem said in a text message on Monday.
However, he did not rule out attending at a later date.
"Our discussions about whether to take part or not and when we can take part, are under way," he said.
Khalilzad, has been travelling the region trying to drum up support for a ceasefire and peace settlement that could include an interim government as a May 1 deadline to withdraw foreign troops looms.
Officials fear that if an agreement is not reached soon, violence will surge.
US President Joe Biden has said that it would be "hard" to withdraw troops by May, but that it was unlikely they would still be there next year.
Khalilzad finished a four-day visit to Kabul on Monday saying he had held talks with government officials, politicians and members of civil society and the diplomatic community to discuss preparations for the Turkey conference.
"Ambassador Khalilzad underscored why it was important both sides accelerate the peace process," the US embassy in Kabul said in a statement.