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Saudi Arabia Halts Afghan Mediation

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia-- 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 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 U.S. and Afghanistan.

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