EU seeks to work closely with Pakistan’s new president

September 7th, 2008 - 11:45 am ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Sep 7 (IANS) The European Union (EU) has welcomed the election of Asif Ali Zardari as the new president of Pakistan and said it would continue “to offer its strong support to the Pakistani people”. “I am personally looking forward to working closely with the new president,” EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said in his message of congratulations to Zardari Saturday night.

He called upon all the parties involved to cooperate constructively in the interest of Pakistan, reported EuAsiaNews.

“I encourage all parties to jointly address current challenges including the economy, further reforms and the growing threat of terrorism and extremism,” he said.

The current French EU Presidency in a separate message said the EU is “confident in the determination of Pakistan to pursue its commitment on the path to democracy and respect for the rule of law”.

The EU encouraged Pakistani authorities to bring a decisive contribution to regional stabilisation and cooperation between Pakistan and its neighbours and expressed its support to Pakistan’s fight against terrorism.

Zardari, the co-chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), was Saturday elected the country’s 13th president, defeating his two rivals from the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) factions with a big majority.

The President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barrosso had also sent a congratulatory message and said: “It is my firm belief that the long standing partnership between Europe and Pakistan will prove its value in the years to come and I look forward to cooperate with you towards developing this partnership further.”

The head of the EU’s executive body said he trusts that under Zardari’s presidency “the government will implement appropriate policies to meet the important economic and security challenges Pakistan is currently facing.”

“I would like to assure you that the European Commission will continue to work with Pakistan to meet these challenges,” he stressed.

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