KABUL - The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned Afghanistan and its neighboring countries of reprisal attacks by Al Qaeda after the death of its leader in last week's US commando operation in Pakistan.
Ban, who met with President Hamid Karzai in Turkey, said that regional countries should be prepared for threats of Al Qaeda attacks, the Karzai office said in a statement on Sunday.
The meeting between Karzai and Ban came a day ahead delegates from least-developed countries are all set to gather in Istanbul for a regional conference scheduled to begin on Monday.
The two leaders also discussed the situation in the Middle East and northwest Africa.
"After Osama's killing, regional countries should be ready and prepared for possible threats," the statement quoted Ban as saying. The UN secretary also renewed his pledge to support the peace process in Afghanistan.
"The UN supports the Afghan-led peace process and is ready for all kind of cooperation in this regard," he said. Karzai also briefed Ban about the outcome of an investigation into the killing of several US staffers during a protest demonstration against the Quran burning incident in northern Balkh province.
The two leaders agreed to jointly work for the protection of UN employees in Afghanistan.
The five-day gathering featuring 48 member states, including Afghanistan, is scheduled to start on Monday, with up to 10,000 delegates are expected to attend.
Among the delegates are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose oil-rich country is not in the list of poorest countries.
On Thursday, President Karzai, at the head of a high-powered delegation, flew to Turkey for participation in the Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV) in Istanbul.
During his trip, the president will address the conference, which is expected to make recommendations for further action in the context of their respective national priorities.
Karzai would hold talks on greater bilateral cooperation with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and several participants of the event according to the Presidential Palace.
Karzai is being accompanied by Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmay Rasoul, National Security Advisor Dr. Rangin Spanta Dadfar, Minister of Economy Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, Economic Affairs Advisor Sham Lal and presidential spokesman Waheed Omar.
The conference will assess results of the 10-year action plan for the Least Developed Countries, adopted at Brussels meeting in 2001. It will also adopt new measures and strategies for the sustainable development of the LDCs into the next decade. (Pajwhok)