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Arms embargo on Taliban likely: US-Russia move to strengthen Northern Alliance

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    Assalamu alaikum, Arms embargo on Taliban likely: US-Russia move to strengthen Northern Alliance By Masood Haider http://www.dawn.com/2000/11/30/top5.htm
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 30, 2000
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      Assalamu'alaikum,

      Arms embargo on Taliban likely: US-Russia move to strengthen Northern
      Alliance

      By Masood Haider

      http://www.dawn.com/2000/11/30/top5.htm

      UNITED NATIONS, Nov 29: The Russian federation and the United States are
      working jointly to table a resolution in the UN Security Council which
      would impose an embargo on the sale of weapons to the Taliban in
      Afghanistan but would allow the Northern Alliance to acquire arms.

      Pakistan, which has repeatedly called for an arms embargo on all warring
      parties in Afghanistan, is expected to oppose a one-sided resolution.

      But, diplomats here say, given the mindset of the council led by the two
      major players who constitute the permanent five, such a resolution could
      become a reality.

      China, which has consistently opposed sanctions resolution could become a
      problem, diplomats here say. Although UK is on board with the Americans,
      the French delegation is ambiguous.

      Pakistan is expected to lobby the non-permanent members of the council to
      oppose such a resolution including, Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada,
      Jamaica, Malaysia, Mali and the Netherlands.

      For Washington, the driving force behind pushing for such a resolution is
      to capture or to flush out their number-one enemy Osama bin Laden from
      exile in Afghanistan.

      The resolution will land the United States in an unusual position of
      aiding the Northern Alliance which is supported by Iran and Russia. The US
      has already placed wide-ranging sanctions on Iran.

      One diplomat observed that in order to aid the Northern Alliance led by
      Ahmed Shah Masood, US would have to "break its own embargo."

      The Taliban representative in New York alleges that the Russians want to
      pass the more wide-ranging sanctions resolution against the Taliban to
      consolidate their presence in the newly-independent Central Asian
      republics.

      The American officials on Tuesday told the Washington Post that they do
      not believe that the proposed arms ban would alter the balance of power in
      Afghanistan significantly. But they say it would put pressure on Pakistan,
      the Taliban's chief political and military ally, to halt the flow of arms
      and fighters to Afghanistan.

      Meanwhile, many UN officials and diplomats here believe that such a
      resolution would undermine the efforts by the UN secretary-general's
      personal representative and head of special missions to Afghanistan
      Francesc Vendrell who is trying to bring the warring parties together for
      negotiations.

      The Russian and American officials here say that they would like to bring
      the resolution to a vote this week, but other diplomats say the
      negotiations could drag on because support among the security council's
      five permanent members is uncertain.

      In the past, despite initial opposition from the council members, the
      United States has succeeded in bringing the council members on board.

      In the 15 member security council, five permanent members - China, Russia,
      France, Britain, and the United States - have veto powers, the 10 rotating
      members do not.

      Jawed Naqvi adds from New Delhi: India said on Wednesday it would back the
      tightening of sanctions against the Taliban if its leaders "persisted with
      violence in the country."

      The UN's special envoy Francesc Vendrell, held talks in New Delhi on
      Wednesday, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

      Vendrell, on his second visit here this year, is due to meet External
      Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh on Thursday.

      The spokesman said the talks are "an indication that India had a
      legitimate concern and an important role to play in the Afghan situation."

      India recognizes the ousted regime of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani as the
      legitimate government of Afghanistan.

      APP adds: A State Department official told Washington Post that it was
      hoped the threat of sanctions would help persuade the Taliban to surrender
      Osama bin Laden whom the US wants to try for his alleged role in the
      August 1998 bombings of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

      "What we are trying to do is get bin Laden out of there," the official was
      quoted as saying.


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