No talks with Al Qaeda: White House
WASHINGTON (PAN): The White House has ruled out holding any negotiations with the Al Qaeda network, asserting that disrupting, dismantling and defeating it is the number one priority of the Obama administration.
“Because of his focus on a specific mission in Afghanistan, it has been this president’s policy and this administration’s policy that the number-one priority of our mission in Afghanistan is to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat al Qaeda.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters: “The Taliban exist in Afghanistan and for ultimate peace in Afghanistan, there needs to be reconciliation.”
And that was why the US supported Afghan-led efforts toward reconciliation with the Taliban on conditions that the militants wishing to reconcile laid down their arms, denounced al Al-Qaeda and severed all ties with the network and committed themselves to abiding by the Afghan constitution, he said.
Responding to a question, Carney said the US would not negotiate with Al Qaeda for the release of its citizen, who was kidnapped in Pakistan last year. In a video message, Warren Weinstein, 70-year-old aid expert, urged President Barack Obama to save his life.
“We remain greatly concerned for Weinstein’s safety and his well-being. We condemn his kidnapping in the strongest terms and call for his immediate release.
“The US government will continue making every effort to see Weinstein released safety to his family, but we cannot and will not negotiate with Al-Qaeda,” Carney said.
At another briefing, the State Department refused to make any concessions to terrorists. “As you know, we don’t make concessions to terrorists,” its spokesman, Mark Toner, said.
“We obviously remain very, very concerned about the safety and well-being of Weinstein. We want to call – or we have called, and continue to call for his immediate release, and we continue to cooperate closely with Pakistani authorities on the ongoing investigation,” added Toner.
Carney said the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago would discuss steps for going forward on Afghanistan.
“The president was just in Afghanistan last week, as you know, and his commitment to moving forward with the strategy that he put forward that includes transferring security authority over to Afghan National Security Forces and ultimately full security lead over to Afghans by 2014 is something he described last week, and will certainly be a focus of discussion in Chicago,” he said.
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