Musharraf leaves for Tajikistan on Sunday

31 May 2002


ISLAMABAD, May 30: President Pervez Musharraf will leave here for Tajikistan on Sunday for a one-day visit after which he will proceed to Kazakhastan to attend the regional Summit in Almaty, sources in Foreign Office said on Thursday.

President will be accompanied among others by Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar and Information Minister Nisar Memon, director general ISPR and president’s spokesman Rashid Qureshi told Dawn on Thursday.

Sources said the president and his “small entourage” are likely to travel in a commissioned aircraft as there are no direct commercial flights to Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.

In Tajikistan President Musharraf will be meeting with the Tajik President, Emomali Rahmonov who had extended an invitation to him sometime back. Officials say the volatile situation in the region, possible areas of co-operation between the two countries and the ground-breaking gas cum oil pipeline project agreed upon between Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan on Thursday are likely to figure in discussions between the two presidents.

The president will leave Tajikistan on June 3 for Kazakhstan’s capital Almaty where he will attend the Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

The summit will bring together leaders of 16-member states which include India, Central Asian Republics (except Turkmenistan), Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Palestine, Russia, Turkey and Mongolia.

This will be the first CICA Summit since adoption of its Declaration in 1999. The summit has gained special significance in the backdrop of current military standoff between Pakistan and India.

The regional summit became the focus of world attention after the Russian President proposed last week that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee meet on the sidelines to avert a possible war between the two nuclear armed rivals.

Pakistan responded positively to the Russian proposal for peace talks between the two leaders. Indian foreign minister, however, ruled out on Tuesday such a possibility saying the atmosphere was not conducive for resumption of bilateral talks that stalled after the attack on the Indian Parliament on December last.

President Musharraf, officials say, will hold bilateral talks with a number of leaders in Almaty.

The summit, officials say, will give an impetus to the CICA Declaration adopted in September 1999 at the Foreign Ministers’ conference in Almaty. “The summit will seek to give a direction to further development of CICA initiative that has been evolving over the last 10 years,” said a senior government official.

The CICA declaration reaffirms commitment of member states to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and recognizes that peaceful coexistence would be beneficial for strengthening of peace, stability, security and co-operation in Asia.

It emphasises the importance of confidence-building measures and calls for peaceful settlement of disputes and conflicts through dialogue.