News In Brief

UN official achieves little in Afghan shuttle talks

Diego Cordovez, the UN undersecretary for political affairs, has returned practically empty-handed from his latest shuttling effort aimed at peacefully resolving the Afghan crisis, Monitor contributor Louis Wiznitzer reports.

Intensive talks with the highest local authorities in Kabul, Afghanistan; Islamabad, Pakistan; and Tehran, Iran have led to some refinement on language regarding the main issues involved (Soviet withdrawal, return of the refugees, and international guarantees of Afghanistan's nonaligned status).

No breakthrough has been achieved, however. The Soviets have not indicated through their Afghan friends a willingness to set a timetable for their withdrawal, nor was Pakistan willing to give any assurances of not interfering in Afghanistan's internal affairs before such a timetable.

Informed sources expect UN Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar to arrange for a third round of indirect Pakistani-Afghan-Iranian talks in Geneva this summer, despite his pessimism regarding the short-term effects of the negotiations.

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