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Ready to facilitate peace talks with Taliban: Pak tells US

Source: PTI
October 23, 2011 18:47 IST
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Pakistan has informed the United States that it is ready to facilitate its peace talks with Taliban, but it must not be blamed in case of failure, as it does not spoon-feed the militant group, a media report said on Sunday.

"Pakistan must not be blamed in case of failure of attempts (by the US) for reconciliation with the Taliban as it does not spoon-feed them," the Dawn newspaper quoted a senior Pakistani official as saying.

Taliban must not be pressed to abandon Al Qaeda, lay down arms and declare respect for the Afghan constitution before the talks, the US was advised, a senior unnamed Pakistani security official was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "We know the Afghan culture, they will never lay down their arms," the official said.

"Contact with the Haqqani group is there but they are not in our pocket," was the message given to the US by Pakistan during a crucial meeting on Friday, the report said.

The meeting was held when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Pakistan with a high-level delegation that included Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen Martin Dempsey and Central Investigation Agency chief David Petreaus.

Pakistan was represented at the meeting by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha.

The Pakistani official said the Taliban would determine the propriety or otherwise of sitting at the negotiating table with the US. Both sides felt reconciliation was the way forward, but the devil lay in the detail, the official said.

"The nitty-gritty of executing any prospective deal will test the acumen of all sides," the official said. Pakistan had raised certain issues with Clinton and both sides agreed that more work was needed, he added.

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