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Afghan Talks Delayed 1 Day - 2001-11-23


The start of U.N.-sponsored talks on a new government for Afghanistan is being delayed by one day.

The talks, which had been scheduled to begin Monday in Bonn, Germany, will now open on Tuesday.

U.N. Special Representative for Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi will be facilitating the talks and his spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, says the reason for the delay is purely a practical one. "There is nothing really to this apart from logistics," he said. "Getting people from all over the world to Bonn has its difficulties and we want to allow people enough time to arrive."

The talks, that will include representatives of all major factions in Afghanistan, except the Taleban, are aimed at developing a formula for the establishment of an interim government.

Mr. Fawzi says the Bonn meetings should be viewed as the first step toward a new Afghan government. "I think it is quite an achievement that we are getting the parties together at all at this stage," he said. "There are differences. We are trying to reconcile these differences. The measure of success of this meeting will be if we can come up with a formula for a transitional administration for Afghanistan. That is what we are hoping they will agree to."

Mr. Fawzi emphasized that the U.N. role is to facilitate the negotiations, not to impose anything on the Afghan representatives.

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