United Nation's quiet progress on Afghanistan

A new round of indirect talks on Afghanistan is now expected to take place in Geneva mid-April. United Nations Under-Secretary Diego Cordovez, acting as special representative of Secretary General Perez de Cuellar, will be shuttling - as he did last June at the first round of such talks - between Afghan, Pakistani, and Iranian representatives.

One analyst believes that the Soviets, while eager to pull out of Afghanistan , will only do so once US-USSR relations have stabilized and quid pro quo agreements on a global scale between the two superpowers have been reached. Meanwhile, the UN mediation is the only available mechanism for finding a solution.

Diego Cordovez just returned from a two-week trip during which he visited Islamabad, Kabul, and Tehran. Though he is tight-lipped about a voyage, The Christian Science Monitor was able to learn from reliable West European sources that during his trip to the area, substantial progress was made on the procedural aspects of the future talks and that the understanding reached last year in Geneva has been widened.

In particular, the Afghan refugees are to be consulted during the next round of talks. ''In the early phase of the negotiations, the Kabul regime cannot allow the rebels to be represented as such. But bringing the refugees into the discussions is an oblique way of associating the rebels with the peace process without admitting as much,'' says one informed diplomat.

A calendar for the simultaneous implementation of the four elements of a comprehensive settlement could be established as follows: withdrawal of foreign troops, noninterference and nonintervention, guarantees of -future nonintervention and noninterference, arrangements for the return of the refugees.

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