17 October 2001, 16:53  EU's Solana calls Tanaka to discuss post-Taliban Afghanistan

TOKYO, Oct. 17 (Kyodo) - European Union (EU) foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana called Japanese Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka on Wednesday to discuss the political process for a post-Taliban Afghanistan, Japanese officials said. Solana said dialogue among the ethnically diverse Afghan people is essential. He also said it is necessary to avoid any political vacuum in the region and ensure the political stability of Pakistan, according to the officials. The former Spanish foreign minister also emphasized the need for each nation to support efforts by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and other U.N. officials in this respect, based on the premise that a U.N.-led caretaker government will be formed, they said. Tanaka told Solana that stability in neighboring Pakistan, progress in the Middle East peace process and humanitarian assistance are required to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan, the officials said. She also explained Japan's ongoing effort to enact a bill allowing the nation to dispatch the Self-Defense Forces overseas to provide noncombat support for the U.S.-led military operation against terrorism, they said.

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