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Pompeo says U.S. welcomes Afghan peace talks starting Saturday

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Kosovo's Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti (not pictured) at the State Department in Washington, D.C., U.S., September 4, 2020. Patrick Semansky/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States welcomes the announcement that peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban Islamist group will start on Saturday and is ready to support the process, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

“I urge the negotiators to demonstrate the pragmatism, restraint, and flexibility this process will require to succeed,” Pompeo said in a statement on Thursday. “The United States is prepared to support as requested.”

Reporting by Tim Ahmann; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Doina Chiacu