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Draft Agreement Developed for Interim Afghan Government - 2001-12-02

U.N. mediators have submitted a draft agreement on the creation of an interim government for Afghanistan to four rival Afghan factions meeting in Germany. But the Afghan groups have not been able to agree on a list of nominees for the administration that is supposed to run the country for the next six-months.

U.N. officials say the draft accord is an amalgamation of all the ideas expressed by the four factions during the past six-days. It calls for the creation of an interim administration, a special council that would convene a grand assembly of tribal leaders and a supreme court.

It also mentions a special role for former Afghan King Mohammad Zahir Shah, who would be called on to preside over the opening session of the grand assembly. And it provides for a multi-national security force to guarantee order and protect the new administration.

The Afghan delegations are studying the draft and suggesting changes. The United Nations wants to wrap up the talks by Monday with full approval of the interim administration. The hang-up is that the Afghan groups have still not agreed on who will occupy the 20 to 30 seats in the new cabinet-like administration.

U.N. spokesman Ahmad Fawzi says the missing link is the list of names which, in the U.N. view, must be finalized before any agreement can be signed.

Mr. Fawzi says the United Nations drew up the draft after all of the parties expressed their will to share power in a post-Taleban Afghanistan. "What we are doing," he said, "is trying to put all these words into a document that will work, that they will abide by. We want to produce a document that is worth the paper it is written on, not a weak agreement that they will not respect when they go home. They have to agree to every word in this agreement and implement it, and we will be watching. The international community will be watching very carefully how they implement this agreement."

The three exile groups have insisted that a multinational security force be deployed to Afghanistan before they return to take part in the power-sharing government with the militarily dominant Northern Alliance.

But Mr. Fawzi says it is virtually impossible to set up such a force before the interim administration begins its work. He said, "We have to get this administration on the ground, up and running, as soon as possible. The deployment of a multinational force, whatever its composition, mandate or duration, is going to take some time to put together.

The United Nations says it would be satisfied if the parties emerge from this conference with an agreement to set up the new administration immediately. But it says that cannot happen until it gets a consensus from the groups on who the administration members will be.