Afghan and Iranian Presidents will visit Pakistan on February 16. They will attend the trilateral summit in Islamabad.
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The two foreign dignitaries will attend the trilateral summit along with their Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari this month, diplomatic sources said.
The trilateral summit is aimed at bolstering regional peace, stability and the Afghan-led conciliation process.
The summit is being held at a time when the Taliban are opening their office in Qatar for talks with the US.
Western diplomats see the move as an effort to counter the Washington's talks with the Taliban in Doha and pave way for an alternative route to peace negotiations.
Annoyed by US-Taliban talks in Doha, the sources said, Islamabad and Kabul are pressing the Taliban to hold peace talks in Saudi Arabia.
Afghanistan has also expressed its displeasure with Qatar last month by withdrawing its ambassador from Doha, besides demanding an apology from Qatar, and a guarantee that the peace talks would be lead by Kabul.
Pakistan, which did not come up with a clear stance on the Qatar talks, however, repeatedly stated that it would support a 'genuine' reconciliation process initiated and owned by the Afghan people.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, who visited Kabul on Wednesday and met Afghan President Karzai and other Afghan officials, told a group of foreign journalists here on Thursday that Pakistan would be willing to push the Taliban and their allies to make peace if asked to do so by the Afghan government.
"Full-fledged peace talks were still "miles away" and could only begin once the Afghan government determine how the process should be structured," she added.
The diplomatic sources, however, are attaching great importance to the trilateral summit, as they believed that the two regional countries-Pakistan and Iran have their influence on various warring groups in Afghanistan.
They also see Foreign Minister Khar's visit to Kabul as of great importance where the two countries also agreed to operationalisze, on priority basis, a Joint Commission to address the prisoners issue as announced during the visit of President Karzai to Islamabad in June 2011.
In the Joint Communiqué between Afghanistan and Pakistan for strengthening Bilateral Co-operation issued by Foreign Office on the conclusion of Foreign Minister's visit to Kabul, the two countries emphasised the need of working together towards enhanced bilateral engagement for deepening interaction in diverse fields including security, development, transit, trade, economic and investment linkages, infra-structure and energy connectivity and people to people contacts for harnessing mutual benefits; They recognised that terrorism and extremism are common challenges that require common approach and close co-operation in dealing with these challenges.
It said that the Pakistan side re-affirmed that they fully support and stand by the Afghan nation as they determine their own future.
"Agreed that an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process is vital for reaching an intra-Afghan political settlement with a view to achieving long term peace, stability and progress in Afghanistan and it required taking necessary steps in specific areas requested by the Government of Afghanistan to facilitate the peace process," the communiqué added.
Meanwhile, sources in Foreign Office said they are giving final touch to the scheduled visit of the Iranian President to ensure red-carpet and unprecedented protocol for the dignitary.
They said that it would be a landmark visit of the Iranian president to the country, which would add a new and historic chapter to the bilateral ties between the neighbouring countries.
During the visit, the two countries are expected to sign various Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) in trade, energy, cultural fields and bilateral co-operation in some other fields.
On the sideline of the trilateral summit, the sources said that President Ahmadinejad will meet with President Zardari and other Pakistani high raking officials to discuss various issues.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2012