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President Karzai (file photo) 14 October 2005 -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said he was willing to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

In an interview published today in the Israeli newspaper "Yediot Ahronot," Karzai said it was time for Afghanistan to acknowledge Israel following the country's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

He added that the two countries could establish full diplomatic ties once a Palestinian state has been established, insisting that both Palestinians and Israelis had the right to live in peace.

Afghanistan, which never had formal relations with Israel, is the latest Muslim state to make gestures toward Jerusalem. Last month Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf shook hands with Sharon at the United Nations General Assembly.

(AP/AFP)

For more news about events in Afghanistan, see RFE/RL's webpage News and Features on Afghanistan
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