22 Oct 2008

Saudi Arabia hosts mediation meeting

3:30 pm on 22 October 2008

Saudi Arabia confirmed on Tuesday it had hosted a meeting between the Afghan government and the Taliban but said any future mediation would depend on the Afghans showing a desire for peace.

Taliban and Afghan officials attended an iftar, or breaking of the fast during the holy month of Ramadan, in the holy city of Mecca in September in the presence of King Abdullah.

Diplomats and Saudi analysts say Riyadh is hoping to break the Taliban's link to al Qaeda for fear of Pakistan's future.

Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told a news conference: "The kingdom's effort was the result of an official request by President Hamid Karzai."