EU hopes next Pakistani president will strengthen democracy

August 19th, 2008 - 12:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Aug 19 (IANS) The European Union (EU) has said it hopes the future president of Pakistan and the government can work together on developing and strengthening democracy in Pakistan, respecting institutions and the rule of law, EuAsiaNews reported Tuesday. The EU will continue supporting Pakistan on this path, said a statement issued by the current French EU Presidency late Monday.

The 27-member European bloc expressed its firm belief that strengthening of democratic institutions of Pakistan will also consolidate regional stability and cooperation.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, said the resignation of Pervez Musharraf as president “is essentially a matter of internal politics in Pakistan”.

The EU had condemned Musharraf when he took power in a military coup in 1999, but later after the 9/11 attacks in the US, Brussels modified its position and considered him a close partner in the fight against terrorism.

Musharraf visited Brussels twice, in 2006 and again early 2008, for talks with EU and NATO officials.

Musharraf resigned as Pakistan president Monday to avoid impeachment. The former general announced in a nationally televised speech that he was stepping down in “the best interest of the country”.

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