Japan, US pledge $2 bn for Pakistan

April 17th, 2009 - 9:57 am ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, April 17 (DPA) Japan and the US Friday pledged to provide $1 billion each to Pakistan.
“Pakistan plays an extremely important role in the international fight against terrorism and extremism,” Prime Minister Taro Aso said at a ministerial-level meeting of the Friends of Pakistan group in Tokyo.

At the opening of the meeting, Aso officially announced Japan’s contribution of $1 billion to Pakistan. The United States vowed to donate the same amount.

Aso recognized Pakistan’s potential to grow economically and pointed out the importance of cooperation from the international community in maintaining regional peace and stability in southwest Asia, especially near the border with Afghanistan.

Pakistan faces various issues from lack of infrastructure and increasing poverty near the borders to a shortage of training programmes, Aso said.

Visiting Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari called on the participating states to help fight terrorism saying, “If we lost to terrorism, the world would become a loser.”

With the World Bank and Japan as co-chairs, a donors conference was scheduled to open later in the day, where 30 participating nations and international groups are expected to pledge $4 billion over two years.

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