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British Foreign Secretary in Iran for Talks on Afghanistan - 2001-11-22


British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is in Tehran for talks with Iranian leaders and key Afghan political figures on the situation in Afghanistan.

Mr. Straw met Afghan Northern Alliance Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, who re-iterrated the group's commitment to the creation of a broad-based multi-ethnic Afghan government.

Mr. Straw said he expressed Britain's appreciation for the "very responsible way" the anti-Taleban alliance has acted after taking control of Kabul earlier this month.

The British Foreign Secretary also met with his Iranian counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi, to discuss developments in Afghanistan.

Mr. Straw's visit comes ahead of an expected meeting of rival Afghan tribes and factions Monday in Bonn, Germany, for talks on an interim post-Taleban government.

The talks had been expected to take place in Berlin, but the German foreign ministry moved the venue to Bonn.

The United Nations say four Afghan groups have agreed to take part in the conference. A spokesman for Afghanistan's Northern Alliance said no former Taleban leaders will be accepted at the meetings.

Participants are also expected to include United Nations officials and observers. Germany is hosting the conference and providing security, but it will not be a partner in the sessions. The United States is sending a delegation led by James Dobbins, the special U-S envoy to Afghanistan's Northern Alliance.

From Iran, the British Foreign Secretary is to travel to Pakistan for talks on Afghanistan's future.

Iran and Pakistan both have long borders with Afghanistan and have experienced a massive influx of Afghan refugees.

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