Western Envoys Call For Women's Role in Peace Process

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Highlighting the importance of the contribution of women in issues of national interest and decision making, the Swedish ambassador to Afghanistan Andres Sjoberg and EU deputy envoy George Cunningham on Monday called for the meaningful engagement and inclusion of Afghan women in the peace process.

Joining the western envoys, Afghanistan’s First Lady Rula Ghani concurred and said women must be included in the peace process.

She said the peace process will not reach inclusive outcomes if there is not substantial participation by women.

Women delegates from 34 provinces gathered in Kabul on Monday to participate in a three-day workshop organized by the Swedish embassy.

The workshop will provide training to the women on topics related to the peace process.

Talking on the importance of Afghan women’s engagement in peace talks, the Swedish diplomat suggested 50 percent of a peace negotiating team be made up of women.

“To win peace we can no longer accept that half of the country’s population is excluded from the discussion that concern their own future, women’s inclusion in society … smart politics,” said Cunningham.

The EU’s George Cunningham said that a substantial presence of women in the peace process would achieve meaningful negotiations.

“Gender is a center peace for our development activities, we are working to have gender delt with transparently and run like a silver threat throughout the national budget of Afghanistan,” said Sjoberg.

President Ashraf Ghani has in the past pledged to consider a solid role for women in peace negotiation talks. But it is not known whether the Taliban would endorse a team made up of 50 percent women.

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