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Europe

Talks on Afghanistan’s Future to be Held in Berlin

All eyes will be on the German capital next Monday as various Afghan leaders converge upon it to discuss the troubled issue of the establishment of their future government.

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Brahimi, the UN envoy to Afghanistan is in the forefront of bringing peace

The all important discussions regarding the future of Afghanistan will take place in the German capital of Berlin on Monday.

This was decided by the UN envoy to Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi after the UN pushed through with their proposal that talks with Afghan leaders pertaining to their future government should be held in a neutral country.

This is the first time that a specific date and venue have been fixed for talks among the various Afghan ethnic groups.It’s a first step towards establishing a broad based interim government in Afghanistan, as proposed by the UN after the fall of the Taliban.

But there has been no confirmation as yet from Berlin. On Monday the talks were rumored to take place in Bonn.

The venue was fixed after Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN envoy held talks with the five permanent members of the Security Council – America, Great Britain, France, China and Russia.

Though the Northern Alliance has not officially confirmed its participation in the talks, the US government says that it has reliable information that the Alliance will take part in the discussions in Berlin.

The Northern Alliance has already backed down from its earlier insistence to hold talks only in Kabul.

The talks in Germany will test the willingness of Afghan leader to put behind ethnic and factional rivalries and past grievances and concentrate on forming a multi-ethnic government.

Mr Brahimi’s deputy, Francesc Vendrell has meanwhile been discussing with key Afghan figures and the various ethnic groups and factions in Afghanistan, seeking commitments that they will attend the conference in Germany.

Rebuilding a devastated country

Representatives from some of the world’s richest nations and organizations are meeting in Washington to discuss plans for rebuilding Afghanistan's shattered infrastructure.

The talks opened by US Secretary of State Colin Powell and co-chaired with Japan at the State Department will focus on urgent post-war needs of Afghanistan such as agriculture, water, mine-clearing and education.

At least 14 governments, international organizations and banks are attending the Washington talks.

"This is just a first step in a process that we foresee will expand to include all members of the international community committed to a prosperous future for Afghanistan," State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said last week.

Invitations have gone to Canada, Germany, Russia, Britain, Italy, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Afghan support group chaired by Germany, the European Union presidency in Belgium, the European Commission and the Organization of the IslamicConference chair in Qatar, the spokesman said.

European Union foreign ministers have already promised to give reconstruction aid to Afghanistan, but only if the country's new government respected human rights and international law.

The talks in Wahington, which are aimed at underpinning the hastily constructed political framework for Afghanistan, will pave the way for an international conference in Pakistan from November 27 to 29 hosted by the World Bank.

The international conference will focus on rebuilding a country devastated by decades of civil war, famine and most recently the US-led bombings.