Saudi Arabia cautious on possible Afghan talks

January 31, 2012 17:27

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia is reluctant to host talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban without concessions from the Islamist movement including renouncing its ties to al-Qaida, sources in Riyadh and Kabul said on Tuesday.

An Afghan official said on Monday that talks would be held in the Islamic kingdom this year, but on Tuesday the Afghan ambassador to Riyadh, Saeed Ahmed Omarkhail, said no formal approach had yet been made to the Saudi authorities.

"The kingdom has a role and has been involved in these issues in the past... The Afghan president has asked Saudi Arabia to hold talks in the past but there is nothing new," Omarkhail said.

A Saudi source with strong government connections and a senior Afghan government source said Saudi Arabia was taking a cautious approach to talks.

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