NATO pledges cooperation with Pakistan on fighting terrorism (Lead)

January 22nd, 2009 - 6:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Jan 22 (Xinhua) NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Thursday pledged to work with Pakistan to fight terrorism.”Pakistan and NATO share common strategic objectives,” Scheffer said at a joint press conference with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad.

Scheffer said there is need for Pakistan and NATO to jointly “tackle terrorism effectively” and that NATO respects Pakistan’s sovereignty, but reserves the right to retaliate if fired upon from the Pakistani side of border.

“A secure and stable Afghanistan is vital to Pakistan,” Scheffer said.

Scheffer also expressed his gratitude towards the Pakistani army for securing NATO supply routes to Afghanistan.

The Secretary General arrived in Islamabad Wednesday on a two-day visit. He met Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari early Thursday on the regional situation and security along the Afghan border.

NATO, which leads the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) of some 55,100 troops, is assisting the Afghan authorities in extending and exercising its authority across the country.

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