Saudi Arabia halts Afghan mediation

Saudi said it won`t help unless the Taliban severed all ties with al Qaeda.

Updated: Nov 07, 2010, 10:12 AM IST

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia`s foreign minister says Riyadh has halted mediation efforts between the Afghan government and the Taliban because the fundamentalist movement has refused to break ties with al Qaeda.

Prince Saud al-Faisal spoke on Saturday after a meeting with his Italian counterpart.

Last February, Afghan President Hamid Karzai sent a small delegation of former Taliban members to Saudi Arabia to seek help in kick-starting talks with the Taliban.

But the Saudis said the kingdom would not help unless the Taliban severed all ties with Osama bin Laden -- a Saudi -- and his al Qaeda terror network. That is also a key demand of both the US and Afghanistan.

The Taliban is unwilling to hold formal peace talks until the US agrees to a timetable to withdraw all foreign troops.