Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier is taking part in an international conference on Afghanistan in Paris on Sunday morning (14 December). At the invitation of the French Government, the Afghan Government, its six immediate neighbours and India are to meet. Other participants include the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations, the European Union, Germany and Italy.
The aim of the conference is to provide impetus for enhanced cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours, for improved regional cooperation is essential if durable peace is to be achieved in Afghanistan. Conversely, a stable Afghanistan is of great importance to the entire South Asia region.
As well as consultations on closer political contacts, the agenda will include cross-border economic cooperation and the efforts to combat terrorism and drug trafficking.
The German Government is among the key supporters of a regional approach. The Federal Foreign Minister's recent trips to the Persian Gulf region, Pakistan and India also served this goal. During Germany's G8 Presidency in 2007, Federal Minister Steinmeier launched an initiative aimed at improving Afghan-Pakistan relations, which now encompasses more than 150 projects of the G8 states.