Gap on time-frame for withdrawal of troops shortened but not bridged
UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL for Special Political Affairs Diego Cordovez, the Secretary-General's Personal Representative on the situation relating to Afghanistan, reported on 10 September that the gap between the positions of Afghanistan and Pakistan regarding the time-frame for withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan had been shortened, but not bridged.
This new development had resulted from proposals emanating from each side at what he called a "mini-session', held in Geneva from 7 to 10 September, of the ongoing "proximity talks'. At the previous round of those discussions, which took place in February and March 1987, Mr. Cordovez had reported that the time-frame gap had been narrowed to less than a year.
Mr. Cordovez met separately with the Foreign Ministers of the two countries. He expressed disappointment that it had not proved possible to bridge the gap, as that would have had a significant effect on the overall efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan. The two sides were less apart than before but what was essential was for them to bridge the gap, he stated, adding that both sides had to bear in mind a number of important political matters.
Mr. Cordovez described the session as "difficult', but useful as other matters had also been discussed. The session was adjourned after he felt that both parties exhausted the possibilities for further discussion. At this stage, he said, each party seemed more and more to expect the other side to take the initiative. However, that in no way implied a deadlock.
Recalling that he had pointed out the need for the convergence of the two tracks on which the search for a political...