The visit by Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani to Dubai /United Arab Emirates/ is of private character. An official well-informed source in Abu Dhabi, which declined to be identified, told RIA Novosti about this. According to the source, on Monday morning Rabbani was received by Crown Prince of the emirate, Defence Minister Sheikh Muhammed Al-Maktoum. Rabbani is not supposed to meet the president of the United Arab Emirates, the source stressed. According to RIA Novosti, the Afghan president has given an interview to the television of Abu Dhabi, which is to be broadcast tonight. Another source reported that no information had been available so far as regards Rabbani's meeting with Pakistani representatives on UAE territory. At the same time, Rabbani may meet representatives of the Afghan diaspora in the Emirates to discuss assistance to Afghanistan and the participation of Afghan businessmen in restoring the country. The UAE is housing over 80,000 Afghans today, many of whom are running profitable business there. In all, the Gulf countries are playing host to more than 300,000 Afghans. In June 1997 the Emirates established diplomatic relations with the Taleban government, and on October 22, 2001 broke off ties with the Taleban. On November 14 the UAE leadership came up with an initiative to hold an international meeting on its territory under UN aegis to discuss the future of Afghanistan in line with the 4+2 formula. The meeting was supposed to gather various Afghan parties and groups, and representatives of Pakistan, Iran, Russia and the United States. However, Afghans opted for Germany as the venue of the conference which will start on Tuesday.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election