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DATE=4/10/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-247882 TITLE=AFGHAN TALKS (S/L) BYLINE=ALI ZAIDI DATELINE=ISLAMABAD CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: THE TALEBAN LEADERSHIP IN AFGHANISTAN HAS RULED OUT THE POSSIBILITY OF FURTHER TALKS WITH THEIR OPPOSITION, DEALING A BLOW TO HOPES FOR A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF THE COUNTRY'S LONG CIVIL WAR. ALI ZAIDI REPORTS FROM ISLAMABAD. TEXT: THE TALEBAN SUPREME LEADER, MULLAH MOHAMMAD OMAR, SAYS THERE IS LITTLE HOPE OF MORE PEACE TALKS WITH AFGHAN OPPOSITION GROUPS, DESPITE ENCOURAGING SIGNS OF PROGRESS AT THE LAST ROUND OF TALKS HELD IN TURKMENISTAN. AT THOSE TALKS, HELD UNDER UNITED NATIONS MEDIATION LAST MONTH IN THE TURKMEN CAPITAL, ASHGABAT, THE AFGHAN GROUPS HAD APPEARED TO BE IN TENTATIVE AGREEMENT OVER A POWER-SHARING FORMULA. BUT MULLAH OMAR TELLS THE AFGHAN ISLAMIC PRESS (A-I-P) (SATURDAY) THAT STATEMENTS BY THE TALEBAN'S OPPONENTS AFTER THE TALKS INDICATE THEY ARE NOT AGREEABLE TO WHAT THE TALEBAN CONSIDER "BASIC CONDITIONS" FOR A NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT TO THE CIVIL WAR. THE TALEBAN INSIST THE OPPOSITION MUST ACCEPT THEIR GOVERNMENT AND ISLAMIC POLICIES. MULLAH OMAR TELLS A-I-P THAT A UNIFIED GOVERNMENT IS THE ONLY GUARANTEE OF PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN, AND SUCH A GOVERNMENT CANNOT INCLUDE MEMBERS WHO HAVE LOOTED THE COUNTRY IN THE PAST -- AN APPARENT REFERENCE TO SOME ELEMENTS OF THE OPPOSITION, WHICH INSISTS THAT THE TALEBAN MUST BE WILLING TO SHARE POWER IN A BROAD-BASED GOVERNMENT. /// REST OPT FOR LONG CR /// THE TALEBAN LEADER'S STATEMENT COMES TWO DAYS AFTER THE TURKMENISTAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAID A NEXT ROUND OF TALKS BETWEEN THE WARRING AFGHAN FACTIONS WAS EXPECTED IN THE TURKMEN CAPITAL, ASHGABAT, AS EARLY AS MONDAY. THE TALEBAN SAY THEY HAVE BEEN COOPERATING WITH THE UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL ENVOY, LAKHDAR BRAHIMI IN HIS EFFORTS TO MEDIATE PEACE. BUT A TALEBAN SPOKESMAN SAYS HIS SIDE HAD NOT AGREED TO ANY FURTHER MEETINGS, AND IS NOT LIKELY TO. THE TALEBAN CONTROL ABOUT NINETY PERCENT OF AFGHANISTAN, BUT THEIR GOVERNMENT IS RECOGNIZED BY ONLY THREE COUNTRIES. OPPOSITION FORCES OF COMMANDER AHMED SHAH MASOOD MAINTAIN A TENUOUS GRIP ON A SMALL REGION. NUMEROUS INITIATIVES TO BRING THE WARRING FACTIONS TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE HAVE ALREADY ENDED IN FAILURE. NOW THE ONSET OF WARM WEATHER IN AFGHANISTAN HAS RAISED FEARS OF FRESH MILITARY CAMPAIGNS BY BOTH SIDES. (SIGNED) NEB/AZ/GE 10-Apr-99 11:28 AM EDT (1528 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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