By Associated Press - Wednesday, July 11, 2018

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - A summit of religious scholars organized by the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation has called for a new cease-fire in Afghanistan, a request already dismissed out of hand by the Taliban.

The summit held by the 57-nation organization ended Wednesday. Participants issued a communique asking all sides in the conflict to put down their arms and begin “direct Afghan negotiations” to end the country’s nearly 17-year war.

The government of President Ashraf Ghani had welcomed the conference, which came after a cease-fire for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. The Taliban accepted a three-day truce, but rejected Ghani’s offer to extend it.

The Taliban dismissed the Saudi summit before it began, saying they only want direct talks with the United States on the withdrawal of all American troops.

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