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Afghan Officials, Taliban To Meet In France

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
Afghan officials, Taliban representatives, and other Afghan factions will reportedly meet this week near Paris to discuss Afghanistan's future.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Afghan President Hamid Karzai had approved the meeting.

The three-day event, organized by the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research, begins on December 19.

The foundation has already organized two conferences with other Afghan parties.

It would be the first time representatives from the Taliban, members of the Afghan High Peace Council, and influential figures from the Northern Alliance who fought the Taliban for years are meeting.

A Taliban spokesman said there would be only speeches at the meeting and that no negotiations would take place.

Fabius said France had no direct involvement in the process other than hosting it.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa