West shouldn't rule out talks with al-Qaeda: Blair's negotiator

Written by: Mamatha
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London, Aug 12 (ANI): Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's chief negotiator with the Irish Republican Army has asked Western governments not to rule out talks with al-Qaeda.

Blair's chief of staff Jonathan Powell said that finding anyone from the terrorist network to negotiate with would be difficult, but no group should be regarded as being "beyond the pale".

"I think no group should be beyond talking to, including al- Qaeda. Of course, one has to be realistic about what talking to a group like that would mean. It would be a very long process of discussion, assuming you could ever find the leadership of such a group," Scotsman quoted Powell, as saying.

Negotiations were likely to take place with al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, such as Abu Sayyaf in Philippines or Shahab in Somalia, he said. "Those are the people you will be talking to rather than, probably, Osama bin Laden," Powell added.

Powell suggested that opening talks with Taliban would be a lengthy process, but could prove easier in Afghanistan.

He said history had shown effective negotiations could take place only when both sides accepted they could not win. (ANI)

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