To ensure the success of the upcoming international conference on Afghanistan, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle will be arriving in Islamabad on Thursday as part of efforts to win Pakistan’s support.
During his three-day trip, the German foreign minister will hold consultations with Pakistan’s top civil and military leadership on the Bonn Conference which seeks to draw up a roadmap for the Afghan endgame next month.
The conference scheduled for December 5 in the German city, will be attended by 1,000 delegates from 90 countries besides representatives of the UN and other international organisations. However, success of the much-talked-about moot on Afghanistan centres on Pakistan because of the influence its powerful security establishment is believed to have over the Afghan Taliban.
That is the main reason that the German foreign minister will not only meet President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani but also Army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.
“Germany is mindful that Pakistan has a crucial role to play in any future settlement of Afghanistan,” said a senior foreign ministry official.
The main item on the agenda of his visit is to garner Pakistan’s support for the Bonn conference, said the official, asking to remain anonymous.
Unlike the US, Germany understands Pakistan’s sensitivities and hence, has a more pragmatic approach towards Afghanistan, he added.
“Germany has always been more receptive to our position on Afghanistan,” the official pointed out.
Meanwhile, the German ambassador to Islamabad met with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Tuesday to finalise the agenda.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2011.
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