ISLAMABAD: Pakistan may have cleared the last potential hurdle in its decision to skip the Bonn conference: a call from Washington itself.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Saturday evening – a call during which the premier is said to have declined a request to attend the conference on the Afghan endgame, which is to start on Monday.
According to the prime minister’s office, Gilani made it clear to the US that his government was ‘bound to follow’ the parliamentary committee’s decision regarding the conference.
During the call, the prime minister said he had promised to refer the matter of Pakistan’s participation in Bonn to parliament’s national security committee – however the committee upheld the decision to boycott. During the call, Clinton also conveyed her “personal condolences” over the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers as a result of the Nato attack.
“[Secretary Clinton] said that the attack was not intentional and that we must wait for the outcome of the investigation,” the statement said.
She added that the US had the highest regard for Pakistan’s sovereignty and that the incident should not be “allowed to jeopardise” the relationship between Pakistan and the US.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2011.