Key Afghan summit to start despite boycott
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Afghan President Hamid Karzai (L) and his Turkish, Pakistani counterparts are seen in this file photo. AFP photoA major international conference on Dec. 5 will seek to chart a course for Afghanistan after NATO troops pull out in 2014 but a boycott by Pakistan has dealt a stinging blow to hopes for a roadmap.
The meeting will bring 100 national delegations to the western German city of Bonn. However a deadly NATO bombing raid prompted Pakistan to scratch its name from the list, jeopardizing already modest expectations.
“If they stick with their decision to cancel it would be a setback,” the conference’s host, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, admitted after Islamabad pulled out in the wake of last week’s air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani troops. A senior Western diplomat went further, calling it a “pretty huge blow”. German officials expressed hope that Islamabad would still be represented at some level, if not by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai was expected to arrive Germany on Dec. 2 and will visit Britain next week to sign a strategic partnership deal with London following the conference, his office said . Karzai will meet British Prime Minister David Cameron and heir to the throne Prince Charles during the two-day visit Dec. 6-7, officials added.