Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Afghan peace mission for Northern Ireland political duo

Two former MLAs are in Afghanistan to advise its government on moves that could lead to peace talks with the Taliban.

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson and former Stormont junior minister Denis Haughey have travelled to Kabul as part of a UK-led initiative after Prime Minister David Cameron said Northern Ireland might be able to offer the country some help.

Mr Donaldson, who is willing to talk directly to insurgents if need be, told The Guardian: “We haven’t come here to tell the Afghans what to do. We don’t have a template with Northern Ireland stamped on it.

“We are here sharing our experience of peace building with Afghanistan and we hope to show even the most intractable conflicts can be resolved if there is the willingness and leadership.

“You need a process. Peace is not an event,and in Northern Ireland it is still ongoing.”

Based on talks so far, he said the Afghans wanted a formal process supported by the international community in the run-up to the withdrawal of Nato combat troops towards the end of 2014.

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