Saudi Calls for All-Faction Afghan Govt. -Agency
Monday November 19 7:37 PM ET
RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia called on Monday for a post-Taliban government in Afghanistan that includes representatives from all factions and said that political reconciliation should be the embattled country's top priority.
The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted Information Minister Fouad bin Abdul-Salam bin Mohammad Farisi as saying that the kingdom's cabinet had agreed after a weekly meeting on ''the importance of creating a government in Afghanistan that represents all parties.''
``The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also sees that a political resolution is much more important than anything else at this stage and that the reconstruction of Afghanistan must take place after the formation of a new government,'' Farisi added.
Saudi Arabia, like Pakistan, would like to take part in establishing a new political order in Afghanistan after the collapse of the hard-line Islamist Taliban government under a U.S.-led offensive.
Both countries are members of the United Nation's Group of 21 that is involved in shaping international strategy for the central Asian nation.
Afghan leaders are expected to meet at a U.N.-sponsored conference to decide on an interim government within days after the victorious anti-Taliban Northern Alliance agreed to hold the talks in Europe.
Saudi Arabia was one of three nations that recognized the Taliban government, but it broke diplomatic ties shortly after the United States accused Afghan-based Osama bin Laden of masterminding the September 11 hijack attacks on New York and Washington.
Saudi newspapers, which usually reflect government thinking, have urged Afghanistan's exiled King Zahir Shah to return quickly to establish peace.
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