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Afghan power-sharing deal agreed

KOENIGSWINTER, Germany (CNN) -- Negotiators at a summit of Afghan opposition groups faced the task of trying to decide who will get what post in a new Afghan government on Tuesday.

This comes after the factions reached agreement late on Monday on a post-Taliban political structure that would set up an interim ruling council and hold elections within two years in the war-torn country.

One Western observer believes the meeting will end on Wednesday.

A short time later, U.N. spokesman Ahmad Fawzi also said the meeting was expected to end Wednesday with the signing of an agreement.

"So now we have a road map," Fawzi said. "It's an important first step toward the establishment of a fully representative, broader-based, gender-sensitive, multi-ethnic government down the line."

The delegates got the green light to go ahead after German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and U.N. Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi called Northern Alliance President Burhanuddin Rabbani and convinced him to go forward.

"Everybody wants to resolve this now. Now the time is ripe for a decision," said a Western observer.

The agreement calls for the establishment of a 29-member ruling council, with a chairman, five deputy chairmen and 23 other members.

"We are acting as facilitators, as mediators, as brokers if you will," the U.N.'s Fawzi said. "We are helping them bring this list down to the 28 that they feel would be perfect to serve their country in the next six months, and we are also going to assist them in their selection of a leader."

The council would govern Afghanistan for six months, at which time a traditional Afghan assembly, called a loya jirga, would be convened to decided on a more permanent structure.

The agreement also calls for elections within two years.

Four opposition delegations -- representing the Northern Alliance, Afghan refugees in Pakistan, an exile group backed by Iran and a group affiliated with the country's former king, Mohammad Zahir Shah -- have been meeting at the Petersberg Hotel outside Bonn, under the auspices of the United Nations.

Sources close to the talks said the Northern Alliance was hoping to hold on to three top posts they now occupy -- foreign minister, interior minister, and defence minister.

The agreement also calls for the immediate assembly of a temporary group of multinational peacekeepers in Kabul and possibly other areas as a security measure.

Security and the decommissioning of current Afghan military units have been contentious issues among the delegates.

A supreme court and other governmental entities would be created under the accord, along with a commission to draft a new constitution.

Parts of Afghanistan's 1963 constitution that was in place during the monarchy were used to create the draft proposal, a source said, though no formal role for the king is envisioned in a new government.

-- CNN's Bettina Luscher and Jim Bittermann contributed to this report.



 
 
 
 


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