The National05/23/2012By Martin Croucher [Printer Friendly Version]
DUBAI - The UAE may play a role in brokering a peace deal in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of international forces.
In a speech to Nato leaders, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed said the UAE was hoping to conduct direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the state news agency Wam reported.
His comments were delivered to the International Security Armed Forces summit in Chicago. A report of the speech did not specify how far along the UAE plans were.
The UAE is the latest country in the region to offer to broker an agreement between the two.
Last year, Qatar offered to let the Taliban set up an office in Doha for negotiations, but talks on the issue fell through in March.
"This might be an additional attempt by the UAE to also ensure stability in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of international troops," said Dr Christian Koch, the director of the Gulf Research Centre Foundation. "But it's not going to be an easy role to play."
Barack Obama, the US president, said the wide participation in the summit showed the concern for a stable Afghanistan.
"The presence of so many leaders and nations illustrates once again that this is a truly international mission," Mr Obama said.
"And that's because the region and the world have a profound interest in an Afghanistan that is stable, that is secure, and that is not a source of attacks on other nations."