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US supports Afghan-led reconciliation plan: Grossman

US supports Afghan-led reconciliation plan: Grossman

Dec 16, 2011 - 15:41

WASHINGTON (PANinfo-icon): A top American diplomat on Thursday said the US was in support of the Afghan government's reconciliation conversations with the Talibaninfo-icon.

 “Our message to everybody is the same to support Afghan-led and Afghan owned reconciliation,” the Special US Representative for Afghanistaninfo-icon and Pakistaninfo-icon, Mark Grossman, told Pajhwok Afghan News in an exclusive interview.

 “The most important thing on the status is to recognise that we support Afghan-led and Afghan-owned negotiations. This means that the United States supports the efforts of the High Peace Councilinfo-icon. It is in support of the Afghan Government to integrate foreign fighters,” he said in response to a question.  

“We are in support of a plan, the idea that the Afghan Government has some kind of reconciliation conversations with the Taliban, if that is possible. Our position on this is absolutely simple – Afghan led, Afghan-owned. Whatever we can do to support that, we will,” Grossman said.

The top American diplomat said that recently the US has had some preliminary contacts with the Taliban. But he did not give any details of such a meeting which was first time made public recently by the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. “The purpose of those is to encourage them to be part of an Afghan-led and owned process,” he said.

“Well, I hope so,” Grossman said when asked if he sees the Taliban coming to negotiation table. However, he said there is no change in the US read line with respect to the Taliban.

“I think it is important that you refer back to Secretary Clinton’s speech in the Asia Societyinfo-icon in February where she said that we do not have pre-conditions for these conversations, but we have end conditions. People who want to reconcile, need to break ties with al Qaeda, they need to stop the violence and need to respect the constitution of Afghanistan, especially the provisions where womeninfo-icon rights, individual rights are important,” he said.

“So those are the end conditions that we see. Taliban, of course, would have its own position. And the reason we support Afghan-led reconciliation talks is that’s what negotiations are all about. But we won’t negotiate over, breaking with Al Qaeda, we would not negotiate about end to the violence and we do not negotiate over the rights of women. Those are the end conditions that we see,” Grossman said.

“I think for your readers, one of the important thing is to recognize that she laid the policy out on 18th February, on reconciliation, -- our job since then has been along with the Afghan government to make that reality. It had two parts, part number one was to create a regional process – that’s what Istanbul and Bonn – were about and then there is the issue of supporting an Afghan-led reconciliation. And we continue to do that as well,” said the top American diplomat.



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