Rabbani Plays Down Hopes for Afghan Talks- UAE TV
Monday November 26 7:33 AM ET
ABU DHABI (Reuters) - The Northern Alliance's nominal head Burhanuddin Rabbani played down hopes Monday that a meeting of Afghan factions in Germany would yield an agreement over the political future of Afghanistan.
``This (Bonn) meeting is not a summit council,'' Rabbani said a day before the U.N.-sponsored talks were scheduled to start.
``It is a summit of representatives. There are no leaders of parties in Afghanistan,'' he told Abu Dhabi satellite television during a surprise visit to the United Arab Emirates, one of only three states that had diplomatic relations with the Taliban.
``The main councils and meetings will take place inside Afghanistan and senior officials must participate to take the main decisions,'' he added.
Rabbani, president of Afghanistan from 1993 until 1996 when he was ousted by the Taliban, arrived in the UAE Sunday.
The official news agency WAM said he briefed Defense Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum on the latest political, economic and military developments in Afghanistan but gave no details about the talks.
Rabbani was expected to meet other senior UAE officials. It was not immediately clear if he planned to visit other countries in the region ahead of Tuesday's meeting in Germany.
At the talks, representatives of four loose Afghan groups will seek to lay out a roadmap for a broad-based post-Talibangovernment.
Rabbani has said that former Taliban officials with clean records could join in any new administration.
The crumbling radical Islamist militia has lost its hold on most of Afghanistan this month to advancing troops of the Alliance, backed by U.S. warplanes.
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