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Cordovez: Afghan Negotiations Slow But Not Stalled

March 6, 1987

GENEVA (AP) _ United Nations mediator Diego Cordovez said Friday the indirect Afghan peace talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan are moving slowly but are not stalled.

Cordovez said negotiators have been ″constantly discussing proposals″ since the talks, now in their fifth year, resumed Feb. 25 for what both sides have termed a decisive stage.

He said a new proposal was received as late as Thursday and said the latest moves required time for study and response. He also reiterated that there was mutually ″tremendous distrust and suspicion.″

″But the fact that the negotiations are going slowly does not at all mean they are going badly,″ he said in a brief statement to reporters. ″Remember, we are trying to solve a very huge problem.″

Cordovez did not say what the latest proposal was, but it was believed to concern a timetable for the withdrawal of Soviet troops, said to be the last major, unresolved issue of the talks.

His statement did not make any reference to the latest series of bombings of Pakistani border regions, including for the first time ever direct attacks on Afghan refugee camps.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, saying the raids were carried out by Afghan air force planes, has lodged formal protests with the U.N. through Cordovez and said they posed a threat to the talks. Afghanistan has denied that its planes were involved.

The U.S. State Department said Thursday that the raids, killing 100 people and wounding at least 250 others, were a ″crude attempt to intimidate Pakistan to abandon its courageous and principled stand.″

A leader of the Alliance of Afghan Resistance Movements said Friday the grouping would accept any Afghanistan settlement that guarantees self- determination for the Afghan people and the unconditional withdrawal of Soviet troops.

Sebgatulla Mojedidi also said the guerrillas would not lay down arms as long as the Afghan government was controlled by Communists. He reiterated that the alliance would not deal with a ″puppet regime″ but was ready to negotiate directly with Moscow the timetable for the withdrawal of an estimated 115,000 Soviet troops from Afghanistan.

The Soviet Union sent troops to Afghanistan in December 1979 to help the communist Afghan government against an insurgency by Moslem guerrillas opposed to Marxism.

Mojedidi came to Geneva to attend the annual session of the U.N. Human Rights Commission that has before it several resolutions on Afghanistan. One, already accepted overwhelmingly, calls for the immediate Soviet withdrawal.

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