NATO ready for 'political dialogue, cooperation' with Pakistan
NATO has expressed readiness for political dialogue and cooperation with Pakistan and stressed the importance of its ties with the country in the fight against "terrorism" as the military alliance prepares the way for its 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan.
"Most urgently, we need to remain united to defeat terrorism," the Daily Times quoted NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen as telling visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.
"At NATO we understand well that Pakistan has paid a high price in these efforts. The alliance stands together with you to combat this scourge. It is clear that the pursuit of peace and security in your region is in the interest of the broader international community. That includes peace in Afghanistan, where Pakistan has a particular role to play," Rasmussen said.
Khar also held talks with the North Atlantic Council, NATO's government body, where officials voiced their readiness to "develop political dialogue and cooperation with Pakistan." They also said that "Pakistan's positive engagement was needed to ensure long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region".
Khar discussed regional and global issues of mutual interest with the NATO secretary general. Briefing the secretary general about Pakistan's commitments to improving relations with Afghanistan, she said that sincere efforts were being made by Pakistan to build trust between the two countries at all levels.
Rasmussen commended the role Pakistan has played to fight a common threat of terrorism and extremism and assured that NATO would remain its steadfast partner in this regard.
He also assured Khar that the NATO regarded Pakistan as an important player, both regionally and globally. He said that NATO was committed to turning its relationship with Pakistan into a strategic partnership. It also wanted to reinvigorate its political dialogue with Pakistan and to move beyond 2014.
Rasmussen, while talking about the situation in Afghanistan, said that NATO was committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan and assured that it would not leave a security vacuum in that country after its withdrawal in 2014.