Germans propose Taliban peace talks

4th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

4 April 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Senior German officials, including Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, called for Berlin to host an Afghan peace conference where Taliban moderates could discuss terms with the Kabul authorities. The proposal was first floated by Kurt Beck, who is leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partner, the Social Democrats, but is not himself a government minister. So far it has been rejected by Merkel's own party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Steinmeier, in rema

4 April 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Senior German officials, including Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, called for Berlin to host an Afghan peace conference where Taliban moderates could discuss terms with the Kabul authorities.

The proposal was first floated by Kurt Beck, who is leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partner, the Social Democrats, but is not himself a government minister. So far it has been rejected by Merkel's own party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Steinmeier, in remarks to appear in the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel on Wednesday, said he knew the Kabul leadership "wants to more strongly involve those forces who renounce violence and act constructively towards the government."

The foreign minister, who is a member of Beck's party, said he was "very much in agreement" with Beck's suggestion that a German venue be provided for such talks.

Beck had said earlier that it was desirable to talk to moderates among the Taliban, telling the Deutsche Welle international radio service that the idea could not be rejected out of hand, but added, "Anyone who murders people cannot be a negotiator."

Beck first raised the issue of Germany hosting a new Afghan peace conference on Sunday, following talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.

Karzai, who met Merkel in Berlin last month, himself proposed involving moderate Taliban groups in the peace process as part of an effort to bring stability to his land-locked Asian nation.

CDU Secretary-General Ronald Pofalla dismissed as "abstruse," the "idea of inviting the radical Islamic Taliban to Germany."

DPA

Subject: German news

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