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Afghanistan: Brahimi holds consultations in New York; his deputy set to visit Kabul

Afghanistan: Brahimi holds consultations in New York; his deputy set to visit Kabul

As the United Nations special envoy for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, continued consultations at UN Headquarters in New York, his deputy said in Pakistan today that he was preparing to visit Kabul and would invite the United Front to participate in a meeting of various Afghan groups.

This morning, Mr. Brahimi opened the annual coordination meeting of Foreign Ministers from the Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. According to a UN spokesman, the OIC had also been invited to tomorrow's meeting of the so-called Group of 21, a broad collection of countries that have been directly or indirectly affected by the crisis in Afghanistan and have influence and interests in the region. Mr. Brahimi was also scheduled to meet today with Ruud Lubbers, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees who was in New York for the UN General Assembly's annual discussion of the refugee agency, UNHCR.

Meanwhile in Islamabad, Deputy Special Representative Francesc Vendrell told a press conference that he was expected to lead a team of UN political and humanitarian staff back to Kabul as early as tomorrow or Saturday.

"I intend to spend quite some time talking to the various leaders of the United Front to discuss the situation in the country, listening to their views and to their plans, but also asking them to listen to our views, and our views have the full support of the international community," Mr. Vendrell said. "I will also invite the United Front to participate at the meeting of various Afghan groups, which the Special Representative wants to hold at an appropriate place at the very earliest opportunity."