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Pak may have 'low-level participation' at Afghan meet

December 05, 2011 14:23 IST

Pakistan, which decided to boycott the Bonn conference on Afghanistan's future after a NATO air strike killed its 24 soldiers, may now have "low-level participation" at the meet in the wake of US President Barack Obama's call to his counterpart Asif Ali Zardari, a media report said on Monday.

Diplomatic circles in the US were expecting "low-level participation" by Pakistan in the crucial conference beginning on Monday in the German city, Dawn News channel reported, quoting its sources.

There was no official word on the development and top Pakistani leaders, including Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, have insisted that Islamabad will not move back from its decision to boycott the Bonn Conference.

Dawn News quoted its sources as saying that Pakistan "might attend the talks on a diplomatic level."

It claimed the breakthrough was made possible after Obama telephoned Zardari on Sunday to express his condolences at the death of the Pakistani soldiers.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was unable to persuade Prime Minister Gilani to reconsider his government's decision to stay away from the Bonn conference during a telephonic conversation on Saturday.

The Bonn conference is being attended by Foreign Ministers of over 90 countries to discuss key issues like the withdrawal of foreign forces from the war-ravaged nation and negotiations with the Taliban.

Pakistan had responded angrily to the NATO air strike on two military border posts on November 26 by closing all routes used to transport supplies to the US and allied forces in Afghanistan and asking the US to vacate the Shamsi airbase, reportedly used by CIA-operated drones.

Following the air strike, army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani gave his troops "full liberty" to respond to any further acts of "aggression".

During a phone conversation with Gilani on November 30, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had suggested that the Pakistani envoy to Germany should be permitted to represent the country at the Bonn conference.

Gilani had then said that he would refer the matter to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security to make a decision.

At a meeting held on December 2, the Parliamentary Committee endorsed the government's decision to boycott the Bonn meet.

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