ANKARA - As Turkey prepares for a full agenda of meetings at next Wednesday's conference on Afghanistan, one conference participant, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, praised Turkey's ability to communicate with the leaders of the Af-Pak region and welcomed its presence in efforts to stabilize the Afghan state.
Noting Turkish troops' mission in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, Clinton hailed Turkey's presence in the region as very helpful to the US in a committee meeting in the US House of Representatives on Thursday, the Anatolia news agency reported. Turkey has been involved in efforts to stabilize Afghanistan since a US-led operation removed the Taliban regime from power more than a decade ago.
Turkey has a great ability to communicate with the leaders of Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries in the region, Clinton was quoted as saying by Anatolia, as she noted that the country had a great deal of credibility with a number of countries, and its involvement was very helpful for that reason.
She is scheduled to arrive in İstanbul on Nov. 2 to attend the İstanbul Conference for Afghanistan: Security and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia, an international conference to be hosted by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in İstanbul with the participation of representatives from more than 20 countries to discuss ways of contributing to stability and peace in Afghanistan.
"The United States is attending as a supporter and welcomes regional efforts to demonstrate support for Afghan priorities of transition, reconciliation and economic growth," US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a written statement on Thursday, a few days before Clinton is scheduled to leave the US for Turkey.
The conference would bring together representatives, including foreign ministers and other cabinet members from 23 countries and seven international organizations, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Selçuk Ünal told reporters at a regular ministry briefing on Thursday, Anatolia reported. "The conference will be co-chaired by Afghanistan and Turkey and will include Afghanistan's neighbors and other key regional partners," Nuland's statement also noted.
The conference will follow the sixth trilateral summit between Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is scheduled one day prior to the international meeting, on Nov. 1. The meeting is aimed at boosting dialogue and cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan to maintain stability in southern Asia, Ünal said. The meeting is going to be hosted by President Abdullah Gül and will be attended by President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan and create grounds for the leaders to discuss ways to build a greater confidence between ethnically and religiously bonded Afghans and Pakistanis. (Agencies)