Fulfil counter-terrorism obligations, EU tells Pakistan (Lead)

December 19th, 2008 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) Intensifying global pressure on Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai carnage, the European Union (EU) Friday asked Islamabad to fulfil its counter-terrorism obligations and said it will send its anti-terror co-ordinator to India next year to firm up cooperation in this area. The EU’ special envoy on counter-terrorism Gille de Kerchove will travel to India early January to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism and to share notes with his Indian counterparts about the alleged complicity of Pakistan-based elements in the Nov 26 Mumbai terror strikes.

“The EU and members states are directly asking Pakistan to fulfil its obligations in the field of counter-terrorism,” French Ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafont, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, told reporters here.

“Pakistan has an obligation to tackle terrorism,” the French envoy stressed.

“The EU is completely committed to helping India in preventing such attacks by way of information sharing and enhancing operational cooperation in the field of terrorism,” the envoy said.

The French envoy also stressed that the EU and member countries played a significant role in exerting international pressure that led the UN Security Council to declare Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a public front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Pakistan-based militant outfit, a terrorist organization.

India suspects the LeT to be behind the Mumbai carnage that killed over 170 people, including 26 foreigners.

In a strong message to Pakistan, the envoy said: “We mean business and we will cooperate with India to ensure that such horrible acts do not happen again.”

“We are supporting India by joining diplomatic pressure to ensure what is done is done,” he said at a joint press conference with Czech Ambassador Hynek Kmonicek.

The Czech Republic is due to take over the six-month rotating EU presidency in January, 2009.

The Czech envoy said the EU will bring further pressure when the EU-Pakistan summit is held in Islamabad in March next year.

“It is absolutely clear what must be delivered… It is in the interests of Pakistan to do so,” Kmonicek told reporters when asked what action the EU will take when his country takes over the presidency next year.

“Many more steps should be taken. We know we are all cooperating and are on the same road but we haven’t reached the end,” the Czech envoy said while underlining a growing feeling in the international community that Pakistan needs to do more to address the problem of terrorism in its territory.

A day after the Mumbai attacks, the EU’s envoy on counter-terrorism had indicated a design behind the Mumbai attacks.

“Over the last few months we have noted an exponential increase in attacks in India, but these were local. Now, we are confronted with an event on a grand scale, and we did not see an event on a grand scale coming,” Kerchove had said.

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