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Merkel 'sorry' Pakistan to boycott Afghan meeting

The Local · 29 Nov 2011, 21:16

Published: 29 Nov 2011 21:16 GMT+01:00

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Merkel said Germany would "see what could be done to change" Islamabad's decision to stay away from the meeting in the western German city, taken in protest at NATO air strikes which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

"We are both interested in constructive development of Afghanistan," Merkel, who will open the Bonn conference, told reporters flanked by visiting King Abdullah II of Jordan.

"Which is why I consider the conference hosted by the (German) foreign minister to be very important. We always said that conflicts can only be resolved in the region and Pakistan is part of this region which is why we are very sorry that this cancellation came today."

Merkel said Berlin still hoped Islamabad would attend the Bonn meeting, which will draw delegations from around 100 countries to discuss commitments to the war-ravaged country after the withdrawal of NATO troops in 2014.

Among the invited guests is US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"I understand Pakistan's concern about the loss of human life due to NATO troops but this should not distract from the fact that this Afghanistan conference is a very, very important conference," she said.

"There was a loya jirga (grand assembly) in Afghanistan and there is now a very, very good chance for a possible political process. On the one hand I can understand (the boycott) but on the other, we will see what still can be done."

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who is organising the conference, said later that Berlin was "of course" in contact with the Pakistani government over its pulling out and said it would be a "setback" if Islamabad did not attend.

"The success of the Afghanistan conference is not only important for Afghanistan but also for the entire region, for all neighbouring countries and of course and in particular for Pakistan," he said.

Westerwelle added he understood Pakistani ire over the NATO bombing on Saturday and urged a speedy probe by the alliance to get to the bottom of how it occurred.

"You can imagine for a moment if something so horrible had happened to us and our country were mourning such a large number of victims - I ask that to be always be considered in judging decisions taken."

Story continues below…

US-led investigators have been given until December 23 to probe the attacks, threatening to prolong significantly Pakistan's blockade on NATO supplies into Afghanistan implemented in retaliation for the killings.

Islamabad has vowed no more "business as usual" with Washington in the wake of the strikes. In addition to shutting its Afghan border, it ordered Americans to vacate an air base reportedly used by CIA drones and a review of the alliance.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

22:12 November 29, 2011 by ChrisRea
What? Pakistan is angry that the US-led NATO forces refused to apologise for an unprovoked strike that killed 24 soldiers (and continued even after Pakistan communicated that are friendly troops that are fired upon)? Do they think that Pakistani lives are important to US/NATO? Is it so difficult for them to understand that they should turn again the other cheek and offer their co-operation even if they are treated as they are treated?
23:18 November 29, 2011 by supernova
Who gives a damn about Afghanistan conference and what Merkel has to say with her lame invitation. These 24-lives were worthwhile and I am impressed with Pakistan stand to demonstrate that NO HUMAN LIFE IS CHEAP AND NO INNOCENT HUMAN LIFE SHOULD BE TAKEN WHATSOEVER.

Afghanistan was, is and will stay the way it was. Every kid grows up using weapons and seeing war, for them it's normal and the process of revenge and animosity will go on & on & on because the more innocent lives are taken the more the hatred grows. Russia got tired so will the Nato in 2014 and the scene will be the same again.

In current capitalistic era human lives are valued or devalued according to economy, religion or nationality of people and this is NOT what I call CIVILIZED!
00:40 November 30, 2011 by Khalidhameed
Oh americans such a civilized nation, all that happens when you massacre masses in the name of so called war on terror.

America is paying the price for not learning the lesson from history of Afghanistan
02:51 November 30, 2011 by Pakistani
Merkel or whoever tries to convince, I think the pk govt SHOULD boycott the conference. the whole thing is just a sham and if the the second most important stakeholder (Pakkistani authorities) after 'afgani-stan' won't participate, it will be a waste of time for all participants. that would create a much deserved inconvinience for americans .. Iam afraid though that the corrupt pro-american politicians will gradually give in to all the pressure and might participate. Pakistan should definitely use this bargaining chip

We suffered alot cos of this shitty country- afganistan, and because of the interests of americans and russians in it..........I agree with people who say afganistan will remain unchanged... maybe it is better to break it up and divide it among neighbouring states and giving them full control over it. afganistan (given it's geo-political importance) has the potential to create unrest in the whole world. BUT stabalizing this region would harm americans' interest since a stable/democratic 'afganistan' and Pakistan would hinder their advances into Pakistan and middle eastern(ie: the mother-load of oil and minerals) states-militaliry.

one last point, how come the americans teach peace to others while their president holding the "nuclear football" (still!) where ever he goes. sounds like a pope/mullah preaching selibecy with a pack of 'Billy boys' in his pocket.
10:20 November 30, 2011 by adipk
I think when it was mistake than NATO must apologize. what is the point. But if not then it means something going wrong. Somebody is trying to make dispute among cooperation. Obama's Nobel is also on stake. Anyway US is repeating its practice i.e. when they were leaving Vietnam they made same blunder as well. So its time to leave Afghanistan and not to take blame on their shoulder.
13:05 November 30, 2011 by catjones
Like everyone else, I'd like to make condemnations before the facts are known, that way I don't have to change my made up mind. I also prefer my war zones to be places of calm, clear decisions; not some foggy, confused battleground. From now on the good guys will always wear white and the bad guys beige so deliberate attacks like these will be a thing of the past.
13:44 November 30, 2011 by ChrisRea
Well, the battleground might have been foggy if Pakistan would have not called in to say that NATO forces are bombarding the two Pakistani mountain outpost (which were actually known to US and NATO forces). This fact is known and I agree with adipk that NATO must apologize (NATO says now that it was clearly a mistake). And figures like US Gen Martin Dempsey should be given a less strenuous task, according to their competence.
19:17 November 30, 2011 by Pakistani
apologising doesnot mean anything. incidents like the recent one had been occuring over and over again. This particular one caught int'l attention cos Pk's corrupt politicians finally showed a bit of courage (mainly cos of discontented public)..... I think Pk should boycott any such forum till americans are ready to formulate a --mutually-- beneficial policy for aganistan... and stop imposing their world view on us. we dont want afganistan to be like last time when americans abandoned it after sinking the USSR.
09:17 December 1, 2011 by ChrisRea
It's only now that I get it! It was probably the brilliant work of trigger-happy and in the same time confused US intelligence agencies, just like in the recent story of the water pump said to be hacked by Russians. It was discovered later that it was an American contractor that logged in from Russia, but nobody bothered to give him a call to check it, even if his name was in the logs next to the IP address. In this case we can talk about "Comedy of Errors", but in the Pakistani case is sadly tragic.
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