Landmark peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban that opened Saturday are an important opportunity for lasting peace and should not be missed, said Turkey’s foreign minister.

“We hope this historic opportunity will not be missed and the negotiation process will lead to a lasting peace agreement,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said at the opening ceremony of the Afghan peace process in Qatar via video link.

Noting that there were still serious challenges and a long way to go for the establishment of a lasting peace, Cavusoglu highlighted that a humanitarian cease-fire must be the priority as “fighting and talking cannot go together.”

“The ultimate objective shouldn’t be any form of peace but a fair and lasting one,” he noted, adding that Turkey hoped to see a sovereign and democratic Afghanistan, where all Afghan people felt a strong sense of ownership for the government

During the process, Afghanistan will need support from international communities more than ever, Cavusoglu added.

He said Turkey backed coordinated regional efforts that were supported by the wider international community for better regional connectivity, development and reconstruction:

“We are ready to contribute to this process in every possible way, including hosting one round of the negotiations, as the largest international platform regarding Afghanistan, the heart of Asia, Istanbul process can be utilized particularly to support the post-peace efforts,” he stressed.

Cavusoglu reiterated Turkey’s commitment to the well-being of Afghanistan and to continue to stand by the Afghan people.

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