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|Wednesday, November 07, 2001, updated at 09:28(GMT+8)|
Blair Rules out Talks With Taliban Ahead of US TripBritish Prime Minister Tony Blair ruled out any negotiation with Afghanistan's ruling Taliban on Tuesday, saying that"the Taliban regime and the al-Qaeda network have virtually merged now."
Blair was speaking in an interview with CNN ahead of his flight to the US to meet President Bush on Wednesday, according to a BBC report.
Blair said the campaign against terror needed efforts to "win people's hearts and minds" as well as military action.
Blair, who faced Arab hostility to the bombing in Afghanistan first hand last week, argued the international coalition assembled since the US terror attacks remained "remarkably strong."
He praised President Bush's "magnificent" handling of the international crisis in the interview.
Some reports suggest Taliban leader Mullah Omar has offered to hold face-to-face talks with the UK and US leaders, but Blair dismissed that option.
"Our information is ... that effectively the Taliban regime and the al-Qaeda network have virtually merged now," he said, adding: "there's no negotiating with them."
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