ISLAMABAD: Afghan leaders and international diplomats meet in Geneva on Tuesday to evaluate whether strategies and aid offered to Afghanistan are helping resolve the quagmire created by the 17-year war, paving way for the withdrawal of foreign troops.
The two-day conference on Afghanistan, jointly hosted by the Afghan government and the United Nations, comes at a time when US President Donald Trump’s administration is actively seeking a peace deal with the Taliban.
While no fresh financial commitments are expected, the conference will be a chance for donors to measure results against the $15.2 billion committed for Afghanistan at the last funding meeting in Brussels in 2016.
Pakistan will send a high-level delegation to the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan where efforts to advance the peace process in the war-torn country will be discussed.
Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi would not attend the conference set to take place in the Swiss city on November 27 and 28 to underline international support for Kabul’s efforts to peacefully end the decades-old conflict, Express News reported.
According to diplomatic sources, the minister was to represent the country at the conference; however, now he has decided not to attend the conference because he will be attending the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur border corridor on November 28.
The United States has played a key role in arranging the conference. Pakistan has also supported the US move. In addition to Pakistan and the US, the conference will be attended by representatives from Russia, China and various European countries.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will deliver a speech during the conference, the Presidential Palace said in a statement.
The Geneva conference was preceded by a 12-nation meeting in Moscow on November 9 in which the Afghan Taliban had sent a delegation, in a move that underscored Moscow’s keenness to play a role in the Afghan peace process.
The Kabul government did no send any official representative. Instead, members of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, a body which oversees peace efforts but does not represent the government, attended the event, where they repeated President Ashraf Ghani’s offer of peace talks without preconditions.
The Moscow meeting was attended by representatives from the United States, India, Iran, China, Pakistan and five former Soviet republics in Central Asia — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan..
Qureshi will attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur
Meanwhile, Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday chaired a brainstorming session with former senior officers of the foreign service on Pakistan’s foreign policy issues.
The session was attended by retired foreign secretaries and ambassadors, besides the foreign secretary and senior officials of the ministry, said a statement issued by the foreign ministry.
A frank and candid discussion was held on Pakistan’s relations with key countries. Many valuable inputs and suggestions were made by the participants who bring a wealth of experience in the foreign policy domain. It was highlighted that Pakistan should pursue a proactive foreign policy to present its perspective on national, regional and global issues.
The foreign minister emphasised that such interactions were useful and would be continued in future for informed policy input to the leadership.
With additional input from Agencies and News Desk