Rassoul cautions Doha on Taliban bureau
KABUL (PAN): Foreign Affairs Minister Zalmai Rassoul on Wednesday said the proposed Taliban liaison office in Qatar would not be accepted until the rebels arrived at the negotiation table with the Afghan government.
Rassoul was summoned to the Wolesi Jirga -- lower house -- to brief MPs on the Taliban political bureau in Doha, the Paris meeting and President Hamid Karzai next week's trip to the United States.
The foreign minister said an agreement on the Taliban office with the Qatari leadership was in its final stages and it would be brought before the national assembly for approval once finalised.
"The office will not be open and we will not reach any agreement until the Taliban, their representatives or the movement itself announces readiness to talks with the Afghan government," said Rassoul, who cautioned the proposed Taliban bureau could threaten the Afghan government-initiated peace process if it was opened by Doha without taking Kabul into confidence.
Rassoul asked the High Peace Council (HPC) to provide information on individuals willing to participate in the peace parleys with the government on behalf of the Taliban through the Doha office.
Rassoul also said Taliban envoys who attended the Paris meeting should be named and exposed to the nation.
On Karzai's US tour, the minister said the President will be heading a level delegation to the US, where he was expected discuss with his American courterpart, Barack Obama, issues concerning a security pact, the security transition and the peace process.
Other issues of mutual interest including US economic support towards Afghanistan beyond 2014 and regional problems among Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran are to come under discussion between the two leaders, Rassoul added.
He said talks between Afghanistan and the US over the security agreement had already begun. The two presidents would confer on the text of the accord, he said.
Rassoul said the president would brief the parliament on his trip to the US upon return home.
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