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NATO would remain a stead fast partner of Pakistan: Rasmussen

BRUSSELS: The Foreign Minister said that Pakistan had a strong and long history of cooperation with NATO and that it was committed to work closely for the common objective of peace and stability in the region particularly in Afghanistan. Briefing the Secretary General about Pakistan’s commitments to improve relations with Afghanistan, the Foreign Minister said that sincere efforts were being made by Pakistan to build trust between the two countries at all levels.

The Secretary General while commending the role Pakistan had played to fight a common threat of terrorism and extremism assured that NATO would remain a stead fast partner of Pakistan in this regard. He also assured the Foreign Minister that NATO regarded Pakistan as an important player both regionally and globally and that the two sides had a common stake to jointly work towards creating an environment necessary for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. He conveyed NATO’s commitment to turn its relationship with Pakistan into a strategic partnership adding that it wanted to reinvigorate its political dialogue with Pakistan and to move beyond 2014. He thanked the Government of Pakistan for concluding a transit agreement with NATO.

Talking about the situation in Afghanistan, the Secretary General said that NATO was committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan and assured that it would not leave a security vacuum in that country after its withdrawal in 2014. The Secretary General also appreciated Pakistan’s response to the recent visit of High Peace Council and for playing a very positive and strong role for political reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Later, the Foreign Minister also addressed the North Atlantic Council and briefed them on the regional situation with particular reference to the efforts Pakistan was making for peace and stability in Afghanistan. The members of the Council lauded Pakistan’s resolve and efforts against the common threat of terrorism, and acknowledged the sacrifices it had made in this regard. They also paid tribute to Pakistan for enduring the burden of refugees and welcomed the emphasis Pakistan had put in improving relations with its neighbours particularly with Afghanistan and India.

Foreign Minister extended an invitation to the Secretary General to visit Pakistan at a mutually convenient date. The Secretary General accepted the invitation with thanks.

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