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Pakistani leaders push for Taliban talks

From Sophia Saifi. Saima Mohsin and Zahir Shah Sherazi, CNN
September 10, 2013 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban welcomes the move
  • It's not the first time the government has tried to open talks
  • Pakistan's PM calls for leaders to stop playing politics, consider the greater good

(CNN) -- Pakistani political leaders on Monday backed a call to begin peace talks with the country's Taliban.

Meeting at a conference in Islamabad, they released a resolution that stressed "past efforts to control terrorist and extremist elements have not yielded the desired results."

"Peace, tranquility, stability and a tolerant and harmonious society are essential prerequisites for revival of the growth process for rapid socioeconomic development," it read, referring to the Pakistani Taliban as "stakeholders."

Interior Ministry spokesman Omar Hamid Khan told CNN the government would start talks just as soon as intermediaries laid the "groundwork."

Shahidaullah Shahid, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, welcomed the move.

The resolution also addressed ongoing U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. It described them as a detriment to the country's efforts to eliminate terrorism and recommended the government consider taking the issue of strikes to the United Nations.

This is not the first time the government has attempted to open talks with the Taliban.

It did so under former President Pervez Musharraf, the army general who held the office from 2001 to 2008 after he led a 1999 military coup.

Despite promises of a truce, the Pakistani Taliban continued to carry out attacks. Attempts at talks between the Pakistan People's Party government and the Taliban also ended without much success.

Monday's conference was convened by newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who appealed to delegates to stop playing politics and consider the greater good.

"We must reach consensus and support each other. If we don't, we will only damage the country and its people," he said.

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