Rabbani death will not hurt Afghan reconciliation bid: Hague

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The assassination Tuesday of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani will not hurt Afghanistan's bid for peace and reconciliation, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

Hague told reporters that he was "appalled" by the attack in Kabul where a Taliban suicide bomber with concealed explosives in a turban assassinated Rabbani, who was leading government peace efforts with the Taliban.

"This is an attack by people who only want to spread violence and bloodshed," Hague said, offering Britain's condolences to Rabbani's family and to relatives of the other victims in the attack.

"He worked tirelessly for peace and a secure future for Afghanistan, and we are confident that this will in no way reduce the determination of the government of Afghanistan to continue to work for peace and reconciliation."

Speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Hague said he would discuss the assassination and reconciliation process with Zalmai Rassoul, the Afghan foreign minister.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who was due in New York, said in a statement he was "absolutely appalled" by the murder of Rabbani.

"He was a respected former President of Afghanistan and played a vital role as the chairman of the Afghan High Peace Council," he said in a statement.

"We met on my last trip to Afghanistan where I was able to hear and see for myself his determination to work for a better Afghanistan. He will be sorely missed but the work of the Peace Council will go on.

"We remain determined to see Afghanistan prosper," Cameron said.

© 2011 AFP

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