Thu, Jan 22, 2009 - Page 5 News List

German ruling party wants Afghanistan peace group

AFP , BERLIN

The UN should create an “international contact group” of world powers to end the Afghanistan war, Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party said on Tuesday.

Party vice chairman Andreas Schockenhoff said the contact group should include Iran, German media reported.

In a policy paper prepared for the German parliament, the party led by Chancellor Angela Merkel said it supports the creation of an “international contact group approved by the UN Security Council.”

The paper said it should include the five permanent UN Security Council members — the US, the UK, France, China and Russia — as well as the EU.

Any group should also include Afghanistan and Pakistan and other neighbors, the document said.

Iran was not expressly named in the paper, but German media quoted Schockenhoff as saying the CDU would welcome Iran’s participation.

“The group should aim to reach an international consensus … that the stability of Afghanistan should be an objective of the utmost importance,” the paper said, adding that weakening al-Qaeda is “a common interest.”

Presented on the day of President Barack Obama’s inauguration and under the title “For A Closer Transatlantic Partnership,” the Christian Democrats also welcomed the new US president raising the possibility of direct talks with Iran on its nuclear program.

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