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Sat, Aug

Panel on unity govt holds maiden session

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Penal-heldThe newly-created joint commission on Wednesday held its maiden meeting on formation of a national unity government and creation of the chief executive post.

More than 30 representatives from the Change and Continuity and Reform and Unanimity teams launched talks to flesh out details of the new set-up. They are divided in three committees.

The commission was set up based on an agreement between Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on August 8. The Commission on National Unity will announce its progress within a week.

Speaking on behalf of Ahmadzai’s team, Haji Azizullah Din Mohammad said representatives of the two teams would discuss the formation and objectives of the national unity government – a demand of the people.

“We assure our people and the international community that this meeting will resolve all problems and our efforts will yield positive results,” he said, as representatives of the political foes met.

Mohammad Natiqi, a spokesman for Abdullah’s camp, said the meeting was result of hectic efforts that had grabbed the attention of the international community.

Constitutional amendments, recent political deals and the joint declaration recently inked by both teams are on the commission’s agenda, he explained, hoping the meeting would yield positive results.

After opening remarks from representatives of both teams, the closed-door meeting began. Spokesmen for both sides shared details with the media at the end of the meeting.

A spokesman for Ghani’s team, Faizullah Zaki, said the objective behind creating the commission was to flesh out details of the agreement on the national unity government.

The commission will set a timetable for ending the audit process, a date for the new president’s inauguration and concluding negotiations over the national unity government.

Abdullah’s representative Syed Hussain Sancharaki said the aim of the commission was to explain complicated parts of the agreement between the two sides. Members will be divided into teams dealing with different contents of the accord.

One of the issues between the presidential teams is the creation of the chief executive post by the next president. Sancharaki confirmed the question was one of the agenda items.

On the other hand, Zaki said the definition of prime minister was clear and it meant the leader of the government, something against constitutional provisions.

“It has been made clear in the joint statement. A Loya Jirga may make a decision on the job description and importance of the chief executive post after two years,” he explained.

Zaki added the unity government meant a coalition of the two teams after the announcement of the final results. The opposition would be non-existent in practical terms, he indicated, saying constructive criticism from political parties would be welcomed.

Asked about sustainability of such a government in the presence of Taliban and Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan, he said the outlawed groups had never been part of the peace process and they would not succeed in derailing democracy.

According to the Aug, 8 agreement, the presidential candidates are committed to setting up a government of national unity. But critics argue the deal is against the very grain of democracy and the spirit behind the elections.