France says Afghan officials to meet Taliban near Paris

By REUTERS
December 17, 2012 01:05

 
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PARIS - France said on Sunday officials from the Afghan government, the Taliban rebel movement and other factions would meet this week near Paris to discuss the country's future as NATO troops prepare to pull out in 2014.

Speaking on RFI radio, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, whose country withdrew the last of its combat troops from Afghanistan on Saturday, said Afghan President Hamid Karzai had given his green light to the meeting.

"Discreet talks have been taking place between different factions for three years," Fabius said.

"If you want peace, it's usually between people who don't agree, and over there they don't talk to each other. So there will be discussions, but it won't be negotiations."

Karzai's government has failed to draw the Taliban into face-to-face-talks. The forthcoming event is the first time representatives from the Taliban, members of the Afghan High Peace Council and influential figures from the Northern Alliance who fought the Taliban for years are taking part.

A Taliban spokesman said there would only be speeches at the conference and there would be no political commitments and no negotiations would take place.

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