KABUL (AFP) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai will visit Saudi Arabia this week, a spokesman said Monday after the US-backed leader called on the oil-rich kingdom to help bring about peace with the Taliban. The president will leave Kabul for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and meet with the Saudi king, King Abdullah, on Wednesday, presidential spokesman Siamak Herawi told AFP. He did not give further details but Karzai has long called on Saudi Arabia to use its influence to persuade the Taliban rebels to lay down their arms and join a peace initiative. To make our programme a success we hope that His Majesty King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia will kindly play a role to guide peace and assist the process, he told an international conference in London last week. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates were the only countries to recognise Afghanistans 1996-2001 Taliban government, which was toppled by US-led forces after the September 11 attacks. Karzai won backing for a new peace and reconciliation programme with the Taliban at the London conference, which aimed to lay down a roadmap for the war-torn countrys future. If the plan is successful, Taliban fighters who renounce violence will be provided with opportunities such as jobs and protection, according to officials. Karzai called Sunday for Taliban leaders to join the scheme, which he has described as a good chance to bring security to Afghanistan.