Afghanistan

UN Afghan Envoy Due Thursday for First Visit

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ISLAMABAD (Feb. 2) XINHUA - Francesc Vendrell, newly appointed U.N. secretary-general's special envoy for Afghanistan, will arrive here on Thursday on his "initial listening tour" of the region to acquaint himself with the situation in Afghanistan.

Vendrell, during his first trip to the region, "hopes to meet officials of the Taliban movement and the Northern Alliance, as well as the governments of most of the neighboring countries," U.N. sources said.

During his two-week trip, the Spanish diplomat is expected to visit Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistn and Russia before returning to New York.

After this tour, Vendrell will be based at the U.N. Special Mission for Afghanistan's headquarters in Islamabad.

Vendrell, 60, with 32 years' experience of service at the United Nations in various capacities, was appointed in January after his predecessor Lakhdar Brahimi resigned for failure to make a breakthrough in the Afghan stalemate.

Copyright (c) 2000 Comtex Scientific Corporation

Received by NewsEdge Insight: 02/02/2000 07:28:45