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Pakistani gov't, Taliban to hold direct talks soon: negotiator

English.news.cn   2014-03-22 22:16:17

ISLAMABAD, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Taliban and the government will begin face-to-face peace talks in a few days, head of the Taliban dialogue committee Maulana Sami-ul-Haq said on Saturday.

The Taliban and government's committee have also agreed on a venue for direct talks, Sami-ul-Haq told reporters in Islamabad after the meeting.

But he did not disclose the name of the venue and said the it would not be shared with the media unless the talks are to be started.

"Both sides had different suggestions for the direct talks' venue but they agreed in the two-hour meeting," he said.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who will monitor direct talks on behalf of the prime minister, also attended the meeting.

"Agreement on the venue is an achievement and I am hopeful that there would be progress in the talks," the Taliban negotiator said.

Sources had earlier hinted at Waziristan tribal region or an airport at Bannu, a main city in northwestern Khyber PakhtunKhwa province, could be a possible venue for the direct talks.

Negotiators said the Taliban had opposed talks at any government's building.

A government negotiation team started peace talks with the Taliban intermediaries last month, which resulted in a month-long unilateral cease-fire by the Taliban.

In a positive response to Taliban's ceasefire on March 1, the security forces also suspended airstrikes on the Taliban hideouts in Waziristan tribal region.

The government has now formed another high-level committee comprised of top government officials for direct talks with the Taliban, as decisions will be taken in the next round of negotiations.

The Taliban had proposed release of all non-combatant Taliban- linked people and giving them a secure place in South Waziristan for future talks. However, the government has not accepted any precondition.

Editor: yan
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