Karzai, PM to kick off Afghan summit
The Second Regional Economic Conference on Afghanistan will be held in New Delhi on November 18-19.
The conference, which will be co-chaired by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, will essentially evaluate the progress made at the earlier conference in Kabul in December last year, where 11 regional nations, the G-8 and the several international organisations pledged to help reconstruct the war-ravaged country.
As part of the conference, India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Afghan Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Rangin Dadfar Spanta will co-chair a meeting on strengthening regional cooperation mechanisms and capacities.
The countries that have been invited include Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the UAE, UK, the US and Uzbekistan.
Pakistan and the US, both nations with a deep and at times conflicting interest in Afghanistan, have decided to send middle level officials for the meeting. US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has sent Assistant Secretary of State Richard A Boucher as her representative. And instead of foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Pakistan will be represented by by Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar.
The international organisations invited include the Asian Development Bank, the Aga Khan Development Network, the European Commission, the European Council, Internation Monetary Fund, the Secretary-Generals of the Economic Cooperation Organisation, SAARC and the UNDP, the UN Secretary General and the World Bank. US Secretary General Kofi Annan has decided to send Tom Koenings, his Special Representative in Afghanistan.