Pakistani president to attend SCO summit

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will attend the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to be held at Astana in Kazakhstan on June 15, according to an official announced Thursday.

Foreign Office Spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua said that the summit will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the organization.

Issues of regional and global peace and security will be high on the agenda of the summit, the spokesperson said at the weekly news briefing.

Pakistan enjoys the observer status in SCO, which groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Pakistan has been campaigning for full membership.

"The president's participation signals the importance Pakistan attaches to the SCO and its keen interest in working the regional development agenda including building commerce and trade facilities, financial and banking cooperation, energy transaction and corporate sector interactions," Janjua said.

She said Pakistan will also attend the Asia-Europe Meeting in Budapest on June 6 and June 7. Pakistan fully subscribes to the concept of inter-regional cooperation in Asia.

Asked to comment on reports about operation in North Waziristan Agency, the spokesperson said Pakistan is fighting terrorism for its own national interests and any decision for any operation will be taken as per Pakistan's own interests and priorities.

The spokesperson said at the invitation of Pakistani Foreign Secretary, Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Jaweed Lodin will pay a three-day visit to Pakistan from Sunday. Both sides will be working to complete the preparations for a visit by the Afghan president in the near future, she said.

She said Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed on a two-tiered joint commission for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. She said at the instance of Islamabad, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States have formed a core group to promote the process of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

World media monitoring