A published report quotes Afghanistan's ousted president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, as saying he is ready to step aside, if a new leader is named in upcoming talks on a post-Taleban government.
According to the London-based Daily Telegraph (newspaper), Mr. Rabbani says (in Saturday's issue) he will accept the decision by Afghan leaders who are scheduled to meet Tuesday in Bonn.
He calls the U-N-sponsored multi-party talks a "first step" toward building a government of national unity in Afghanistan and expresses hope future meetings will take place inside the country.
Mr. Rabbani, who is the nominal head of the anti-Taleban Northern Alliance, served as president of Afghanistan from 1993 until the Taleban took power three years later. The United Nations and many world countries still recognize his administration as the official government of Afghanistan.
The deposed president also told the Telegraph that he favors better relations with Pakistan, which until recently, supported the Taleban and maintained dsiplomatic relations with the militant Islamic movement.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said Friday his government supports the upcoming multi-ethnic talks in Germany. President Bush has also said he wants Afghanistan to have a broad-based government.
Early today (Saturday), Northern Alliance Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah said the meetings in Bonn should result in a road-map for a transitional government. Mr. Abdullah said the current situation presents a unique opportunity to create a peaceful government in Afghanistan and promised that women will be a part of the Northern Alliance delegation to the talks.