Istanbul Conference opens
KABUL (PAN): Hours after a trilateral summit among Turkish, Afghan and Pakistani presidents, a regional conference on the future of Afghanistan got underway in Istanbul, the capital of Turkey, on Wednesday.
“To restore security in Afghanistan, genuine solidarity is a must,” Turkish President Abdullah Gul said in his opening remarks at the Istanbul Conference, being attended by representatives from 20 countries and aid agencies.
The conference will deliberate on issues related to the security transition in Afghanistan, including the recruitment, training and equipment of Afghan forces, as well as the reconciliation process.
It will also focus on building up trust among regional and Central Asian countries for greater cooperation in the field of security.
In the build-up to the Istanbul event, preparatory meetings -- attended by representatives from the UN, Central Asia, India, Pakistan, Iran, the European Union, the US, Canada, Italy, France and other countries -- were held in Kabul and Oslo.
Late on Tuesday night, Pakistan agreed to cooperate with Afghanistan in investigating the assassination of ex-Afghan president and chief peace negotiator, Burhanuddin Rabbani.
Relation between the two countries deteriorated after Rabbani's assassination at his residence in the high-security Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic enclave of Kabul on September 20.
The breakthrough came at a meeting, the first between President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari since the Sept. 20 attack, which fuelled tensions between Islamabad and Kabul.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who hosted the three-way summit behind closed doors in Istanbul, told reporters Zardari and Karzai had decided to work together in probing the murder.
"One of the most important conclusions is the decision made by Pakistan and Afghanistan to establish a cooperation mechanism to illuminate the assassination of Rabbani," he said.
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