President Ashraf Ghani canceled his visit to New York to attend the UN General Assembly (UNGA) meeting after his American counterpart Donald Trump declined meeting him, a well-placed source said Sunday.
However, government officials rejected the claim as baseless.
Earlier, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Abdullah Abdullah left for the United States to attend the 73rd UNGA meeting.
The CEO, heading a high-level delegation, would take part in the assembly on behalf of the unity government and express Kabul’s views on different issues, a statement from his office said.
Abdullah will underline the need for countering terrorism, narcotics and enhancing regional and international cooperation with Afghanistan in this regard. The CEO would explain Afghanistan’s preparations for the parliamentary and district council elections.
A reliable source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), wishing anonymity, told Pajhwok Afghan News that it was expected that President Donald Trump and President Ashraf Ghani would meet on the sidelines of the UNGA meeting in New York.
He said a delegation in this regard recently visited the US, but President Trump declined the request and said that Ghani could meet Vice President Mike Pence.
National Security Council spokesman Qader Shah said he was unaware of the development while the Presidential Palace rejected the claim of the MoFA source.
Deputy Presidential spokesman Shah Hussain Murtazavi rejected the president was intending to attend the UNGA meeting and said the CEO would participate in the meeting.
He said the country’s situation demanded that the president should remain at home and not participate in multinational conferences.
MoFA spokesman Sifatullah Ahmadi also termed the claim of meeting cancelation as baseless.
Political affairs expert Abdul Shakour Salangi said there could be some reasons behind Trump’s decision not to meet President Ghani.
“Trump is interested in meeting world’s leaders and not leaders from countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
Another reson, he said, was that President Trump was not happy with the performance of President Ghani because he daily heard bad news from Afghanistan.
He said such a decision might not affect relations between Kabul and Washington because Afghanistan was fully dependent on the US which would continue to support Afghanistan for its own interest.