German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a joint press conference with the King of Jordan following their meeting on bilaterial ties and regional issues including Middle East peace efforts, Egypt and Syria at the Chancellery in Berlin. Merkel said during the press conference she was “very sorry” about a boycott by Pakistan of an upcoming conference in the German city of Bonn on the future of Afghanistan. -AFP Photo

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday she was “very sorry” about Pakistan's announced boycott of a Bonn conference next week on the future of Afghanistan and would try to convince it to attend.

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 at a joint press conference with 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 that Berlin had not given up on convincing Islamabad to attend the Bonn meeting, which will bring together foreign ministers 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.”Abdullah said Jordan supported all efforts to reach a political solution to the bloody strife in Afghanistan.

“Like Germany, Jordan has its commitments in Afghanistan but again the political process is what takes precedence now,” he said.

“We have a very strong relationship with Pakistan but we do hope that that situation will improve.”A Pakistani official told AFP earlier that Islamabad would boycott Monday's conference in Bonn over the deadly Nato air strikes at the weekend.

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.


Back to governance

Back to governance

While PDM has continued efforts to mount political pressure, it has been unable to force a crisis to challenge the PTI government.
Inequality virus
25 Jan 2021

Inequality virus

An Oxfam report calls for radical changes to the economic system.


Updated 25 Jan 2021

Where the buck stops

The rights to due process and security of person are accorded to every individual in this country.
25 Jan 2021

PPP’s plan?

THE PDM faces a fresh crisis as the PPP takes a conspicuously soft position on the long march. While the PDM talks ...
25 Jan 2021

Forward guidance

THE State Bank has taken the unusual step of issuing a forward guidance in its latest monetary policy statement to...
Updated 24 Jan 2021

Delayed olive branch

THE PTI government has finally mustered up sufficient political prudence to extend an olive branch to the opposition...
24 Jan 2021

Bureaucracy reform

WHILE the intention behind the endeavour may be lauded, the civil service reform package unveiled by the government...
24 Jan 2021

Minority rights

ON Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to safeguard religious sites around the world,...