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Sunday, 11 February, 2001, 09:52 GMT
Taleban plea to US
Taleban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Mutawakel
Wakil Ahmed Mutawakel: "Fourth proposal" possible
Afghanistan's Taleban authorities say they are willing to consider proposals to resolve the dispute with the United Nations about Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden, who is wanted by the United States for alleged involvement in the bombing of two of its embassies.

The Taleban's Foreign Minister, Wakil Ahmed Mutawakel, said they were prepared to work out a new proposal for dealing with Mr Bin Laden, who they have refused to extradite for trial.

The move comes one day after the US ordered the Taleban to close their office in New York, their only outpost in the country.

Kenyan embassy bombing
Embassy bombings killed 224 people
The US Government said the order followed a tightening of United Nations sanctions against the Taleban, aimed at securing the extradition of Mr Bin Laden.

The sanctions are also meant to force the closure of alleged terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, which the Taleban say do not exist.

Fourth proposal

Speaking to the AFP news agency, Mr Mutawakel said: "We call upon the United States not to close the doors on understanding."

"We are considering to work out a fourth proposal on the issue of Osama bin Laden," he said.

He wasn't able to say what form such a proposal might take, only that the Taleban would be prepared to consider it.

So far the Taleban have said:

  • US should provide evidence of Mr Bin Laden's alleged terrorist activities to the Taleban Supreme Court

  • Mr Bin Laden could be kept under the surveillance of monitors from the multi-national Organisation of Islamic Conference

  • a panel of clerics from three Islamic states should come to Afghanistan to deal with the issue

All these have suggestions have been turned down by the United States.

Embassy trial

The trial against four men alleged to have been accomplices of Mr Bin Laden in the bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 is due to resume next week.

The Federal District Court
Witnesses are being called from six countries
Qatari television has reported that Mr Bin Laden's organisation has denied any links to a key witness at the trial, Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl, who had presented himself as a close associate of the Saudi dissident.

Mr Al-Fadl told the court in New York that Osama Bin Laden formed an organisation known as Al-Qaeda in 1989 to fight the United States and to topple pro-western Arab governments.

In 1993, according to Al-Fadl, Osama Bin Laden even attempted to buy uranium in an apparent effort to produce a nuclear device.

The trial is expected to last for 10 months and is taking place under unprecedented security in a Manhattan court.

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See also:

10 Feb 01 | Americas
Taleban shut down in US
08 Feb 01 | South Asia
Taleban seek talks on bin Laden
19 Jan 01 | South Asia
Afghan fears over UN sanctions
06 Feb 01 | Americas
Witness reveals bin Laden threats
20 Dec 00 | South Asia
Who is Osama bin Laden?
04 Aug 00 | Africa
Compensation deadline for Kenyans
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