Diplomatic efforts fail to mend Afghan-Pak ties
Kabul's diplomatic engagement with several countries, including Saudi Arabia and China, to normalise its relations with Pakistan have shown little results.india Updated: Jan 29, 2007 13:37 IST
Afghanistan's sustained diplomatic engagement with several countries, including Saudi Arabia and China, to normalise its relations with Pakistan have shown little results, informed sources have said.
The latest move in this direction was a letter written by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to Saudi Arabia's King Fahd.
Karzai briefed visiting External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee about this communication when he was here recently.
As a follow-up, the sources said, Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta is expected to visit Riyadh shortly.
In his recent address to a joint session of parliament, Karzai thanked some Islamic countries and neighbours for trying to defuse the situation with Pakistan.
In this context, he referred to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran and China.
The Chinese mediation bore fruit at the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation last summer, when Karzai and his Pakistan counterpart Pervez Musharraf had a one-to-one meeting to iron differences.
This led to a meeting of foreign ministers of the two countries in Dubai, thanks to facilitation by the UAE.
Shortly thereafter, Spanta flew to Islamabad to confer with his counterpart, Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri.
But it was clear by November that efforts at informal mediation by different parties had yielded no result, for the White House dinner of Karzai and Musharraf with US President George W Bush turned out to be a cool affair, sources said.
In the light of the failure of earlier efforts by others to bring about a rapprochement, Karzai came up with his own initiative at the dinner for national peace jirgas to be held in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This proposal was endorsed by Bush.
Tehran is also understood to have offered to help Afghanistan and Pakistan resolve their differences, though it is not clear what transpired as a result.
Asked about these contacts over the past few months, foreign ministry spokesman Sultan Ahmad Baheen said it was "important to help reduce tensions and to work more positively toward peace".