Cuban President Fidel Castro has offered himself as peacemaker in the Afghan crisis.
GV President Zia's secretariat
SV INTERIOR Pakistan President General Zia Ul-Haq greets Cuban Foreign Minister Isidoro Malmeirca Peoli and other officials
SV Cuban Foreign Minister seated next to Pakistan President as interpreter translates
SV Other delegates seated in room
SV Cuban Foreign Minister hands over document to General Zia and they continue talking (2 shots)
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Background: Cuban President Fidel Castro has offered himself as peacemaker in the Afghan crisis. The chairman of the non-aligned movement made the offer to mediate between Afghanistan's Soviet-backed government and neighbouring Pakistan in a letter to Pakistan's military ruler Zia Ul-Haq. It was delivered by Cuban Foreign Minister, Isidoro Malmierca Peoli, who flew to Rawalpindi on a surprise two-day visit on Tuesday (25 March).
SYNOPSIS: After talks between President Zia and Mr. Malmierca on Wednesday (26 March) the Pakistan Foreign Ministry acknowledged that President Castro in his letter had offered to serve the cause of peace -- as ministry officials put it -- and contribute towards a political solution of the crisis.
President Zia told the Cuban envoy he appreciated the gesture and would give a considered response to the Cuban approach. Cuba has yet to make any comment on the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan last December. Pakistan, seeing itself threatened by the Soviet moves, froze relations with Moscow and Kabul almost immediately after the Soviet intervention. Pakistan still demands the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.