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Pakistan boycotts Bonn conference over NATO strike
Posted by The Agonist on November 29th, 2011

From our partners at The Agonist

Islamabad | Nov 29

AFP – Pakistan on Tuesday decided to boycott a key international conference on Afghanistan next month, widening its protest over lethal cross-border NATO strikes and exacerbating a deep crisis in US ties.

The Pakistani cabinet took the decision a week before the December 5 talks in the German city of Bonn, leaving open the possibility it could yet reverse the decision should Islamabad win concessions in the interim.

“The cabinet has decided not to attend the Bonn meeting,” a government official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Tuesday’s talks also decided to call a joint session of parliament to discuss the fallout, he said.

The cabinet branded “unilateral action” such as Saturday’s NATO strike and the May 2 US killing of Osama bin Laden, which brought the US relationship to its lowest level in years, “unacceptable”, the prime minister’s office said.

Pakistan has already closed the Afghan border to NATO convoys, a lifeline for 140,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, ordered American personnel to vacate an air base reportedly used by CIA drones and ordered a review of the alliance.

The Afghan and German governments reacted with disappointment to the boycott, with President Hamid Karzai calling Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to urge him to reconsider.

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