External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj likely to visit Pakistan next week

Islamabad: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to visit Pakistan next week for a regional conference on Afghanistan, officials here said today.

Pakistan is co-hosting a ministerial-level conference on December 9 to discuss regional cooperation on Afghanistan and officials of about 27 countries are expected to attend it.

A Foreign Office (FO) official told PTI that Pakistan has invited the Foreign Ministers of different countries including India for the meeting.

"We hope for maximum participation, though some of the countries like India so far not confirmed high-level participation," he said on condition of anonymity.

Another FO official said there was 'greater possibility' that Swaraj would come to Pakistan for the regional conference after the brief interaction between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart in Paris on the sidelines of the UN climate summit.

According to Dawn, a senior Pakistani official said that Swaraj was 'highly likely' to attend the meeting.

The Express Tribune quoted officials at Pakistan's Foreign Office and an Indian diplomat that "Swaraj will most likely attend the conference following this week's unscheduled meeting between the prime ministers of Pakistan and India in Paris".

Modi and Sharif had a brief meeting during which they warmly held hands before sitting down for a chat, with the Indian side describing the encounter as a 'brief exchange of courtesies' but Pakistanis terming it as a 'good' meeting.

Swaraj's possible visit may also indicate breaking of impasse created in Indo-Pak ties after the cancellation of a meeting between the NSAs of the two countries in August amid mutual blame game.

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