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Afghanistan: Karzai Nominated To Lead Transitional Authority

Kabul, 13 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Delegates at Afghanistan's Loya Jirga today put forward current interim head Hamid Karzai for nomination to serve as head of state in an 18-month transitional government. Also proposed for nomination were Masooda Jalal, a female employee of the UN's World Food Program, and Glam Fareq Majidi and Mir Mohammed Maahfoz Nadai. Additional names may also be put forward. The chairman of the Loya Jirga, Ismail Qasimyar, is due to make the nominations official later today.

Karzai is widely expected to win the vote to lead the Transitional Authority, which is scheduled to assume power on 22 June until Afghanistan has democratic elections in 2004. The 1,500-member Loya Jirga is in its third day.

In other news, during a meeting in Canada, foreign ministers from the G-7 leading industrialized nations and Russia praised Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai. The ministers also pledged to support the new 18-month government that Afghanistan is setting up this week. Karzai is expected to be chosen to lead the Transitional Authority.

On another issue, the foreign ministers said the international community must do more to combat terrorism even though progress has been made.

The meeting in Vancouver, which began yesterday, comes ahead of the summit of G-7 plus Russia leaders at the end of the month in Canada. The gathering of foreign ministers from Canada, Britain, the United States, Japan, France, Italy, Germany, as well as Russia is focusing on the current tensions between rivals Pakistan and India.

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell asked Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to use his country's influence to resolve a dispute between Belarus and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Powell held talks with Ivanov yesterday on the sidelines of a two-day gathering of foreign ministers.

The OSCE mission's acting head in Minsk was forced to leave last week after the Belarusian government refused to renew his visa and gave him 24 hours to get out of the country. The Belarusian government accuses the OSCE of undermining it.

In response, the OSCE recalled the last remaining senior mission officer from Belarus to Vienna. Relations between the OSCE and the government of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka have deteriorated since the OSCE criticized Lukashenka's 2001 re-election as having been a fraudulent vote.