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US refuses to detail Qatar meetings with Taliban

US refuses to detail Qatar meetings with Taliban

Jan 27, 2012 - 12:20

WASHINGTON (PANinfo-icon): Without confirming or denying any meeting with the Talibaninfo-icon, the United States has once again said its goal is Afghans talking to Afghans.

“Our goal is to get to a point where it's Afghans talking to Afghans and we're not needed to facilitate this. So that's what he's working on,” a State Department spokesperson said.

Victoria Nuland told reporters on Thursday not to expect a blow-by-blow account of the peace negotiations with the Taliban.

Nuland refused to entertain questions with regard US Special Representative for Afghanistaninfo-icon and Pakistaninfo-icon Marc Grossman’s meeting with Taliban’s representatives in Qatar.

“Because if this process is going to work, we have to give it some time, we have to give it some space, we have to give it some room. But the fundamentals are clear. We've been absolutely clear about it,” she added.

Grossman held two meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai before and after his trip to Qatar. While one was in Kabulinfo-icon, the other was in Rome.

Grossman flew to Italy immediately after his Qatar meetings. But the spokesperson avoided giving details of the Qatar discussions.

“…in Qatar, by not talking about it, you're making it painfully obvious that he did have meetings with Taliban representatives,” one of the wire service correspondents asked.

Nuland responded: “You may draw whatever conclusions you'd like, but we're going to give this diplomacy some space … Whether or not, where, who, how on the Taliban side, there was plenty of business to do in Qatar without that…”

She denied reports that Pakistan was being sidelined by the US in the peace talks. “We think that Pakistan has a very important role to play in supporting this reconciliation process.  The secretary talked about it quite extensively when she was there.”

 “We think they (Pakistanis) will have ample opportunity to remain engaged” and that Ambassador Grossman’s visit to Islamabad -- which could not materialise due to Pakistan’s continuing internal review of relations with the US -- “was not the sole opportunity” for engagement on the issue.



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