Afghan President Hamid Karzai cancelled a meeting on Wednesday with a major Muslim organization in Saudi Arabia that had been aimed at helping reconciliation efforts with the Taliban.
The meeting was called off because Karzai had reservations about the agenda, a senior official from the group, the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), said.
However, an Afghan diplomat travelling with Karzai told Reuters the meeting was cancelled because the Afghan delegation wanted to visit Medina, the burial place of the Prophet Mohammad.
Karzai arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, seeking help in his efforts to reconcile with the Taliban.
The cancelled meeting would have addressed the OIC's role in containing Afghan tensions and followed up on OIC efforts to organise a conference for Islamic scholars from different Afghan religious authorities, the OIC said.
"We understand that Saudi Arabia supports this drive by the OIC for debate among Afghan religious leaders as a means to convince the Taliban to openly abandon al Qaeda," the senior OIC official told Reuters by telephone from Jeddah.
Reuters could not immediately reach OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu or Karzai's spokesman Waheed Omer.
With the support of Saudi King Abdullah, the Saudi-based OIC has sought to play a bigger role in solving Muslim world crises through debate among various branches of Islam. OIC groups 57 Muslim states.
King Abdullah held talks with Karzai on Wednesday, the official SPA news agency reported. It did not elaborate.
Saudi Arabia has said little about Karzai's visit, which followed his call at a London conference last week for Saudi Arabia to help bring peace to Afghanistan.
Riyadh has arranged and hosted talks between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives in the past and Karzai, in remarks published by Saudi newspapers, said any message from King Abdullah would have a big impact on the Taliban and other Islamist movements.
In cooperation with Washington, Riyadh lent financial support to the Afghan Mujahideen in its fight against Soviet forces in the 1980s.
ReutersLast Mod: 03 Şubat 2010, 23:41