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AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Thank you. As you know, I've been asked to be the American representative to the Afghan opposition. I'm on my way to the region to begin that task. I felt it important to stop in Ankara and consult with the government of Turkey on the way. Turkey is an important ally and is making an important contribution to peace and stability in Afghanistan. We discussed the political situation, the security situation, the humanitarian situation and also the prospects for Afghanistan's reconstruction. I believe based on my consultations here that Turkey is prepared to make an important contribution in these areas. We will be in close touch in the coming days in order to coordinate our efforts.
Q: Mr. Dobbins, (Foreign Minister) Ismail Cem said in New York in remarks to the wire services, that Turkey was ready to send troops but it wanted to have a word to say in the future of Afghanistan, that it wanted to play a part, to have a role in the future of Afghanistan. Can you comment on this?
AMB. DOBBINS: I understand Turkey is prepared to send troops. They are in consultations with the responsible American military commanders in Tampa, Florida. Those discussions are underway at the moment. Turkey certainly is regarded as a country that has an important contribution to make, not just in that regard, but to Afghanistan's future more broadly. Turkey certainly will be part of a broader consultative process as the United States and others consider how to move forward in Afghanistan.
Q: Mr. Dobbins, do you have a time schedule for a new administration in Kabul? How long will it take? Do you have an estimate?
AMB. DOBBINS: We are supporting the efforts of Mr. Brahimi to bring together all of the relevant elements of the Afghan opposition to try to put together such an administration. Based on the meetings that were held in New York over the weekend and on Monday, Mr. Brahimi and Kofi Annan have been told to accelerate those efforts. We hope that an initial gathering under the auspices of the United Nations can be held in the next several days. We are in contact with Mr. Brahimi and with the other parties to try to encourage that.
Q: Do you see a danger of instability after Taliban in Afghanistan? Do you think that the opposition under control for new administration? Are they ready for the new settlement?
AMB.DOBBINS: Well, I think all of the elements of the opposition are saying the right things but they haven't yet gotten together. We think it is important that they come together and that, out of that new administration and process of creating an interim government be developed. We believe that needs to occur as quickly as possible.
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