Islamabad: Pakistan delegation of defense and security officials led by Secretary Defense Ms. Nargis Sethi, currently on a visit to France held detailed discussions with French counterpart on matters relating to security co-operation between the two countries. The two sides reviewed the progress on the implementation of the Joint Declaration, which was signed during Prime Minister Gilani’s visit to France last year. They also identified various areas for security cooperation and underlined the importance of enhancing bilateral contacts and coordination in this regard. The Secretary Defense informed the French side that President Asif Ali Zardari and the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have successfully developed national consensus on Pakistan’s policy on war against terrorism, says a press release received from Paris here today.
The French side appreciated Pakistan’s role in promoting security and stability in the region and acknowledged the sacrifices made by the armed forces and the civilian law enforcement agencies of Pakistan and also that they were unmatched. The two sides also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and underscored the importance of peace and stability in that country.
In a separate meeting with her French counter Mr. Francis Delon, Secretary Defense Sethi informed him that Pakistan strongly believed that Afghanistan issue could not be resolved through military means alone and, therefore, required an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led reconciliation process. She further informed that there is now a national consensus against terrorism and that both political as well as military leadership is on the same page to deal with the challenge. Secretary Defense offered her condolences on the recent unfortunate killings in France by the French national of Algerian origin and highlighted that terrorism has no nationality and transcends beyond borders.
Earlier, she called on Secretary General Foreign Affairs Pierre Sellal and discussed the whole range of bilateral issues. She said that Pakistan enjoys excellent relations with France and would like to transform these relations into a long-term partnership to the benefit of the two peoples. She also informed the French Secretary General that currently the Parliament in Pakistan is revisiting the terms of engagement with NATO/ISAF, adding that the process will provide the public ownership to this cooperation.
The delegation also discussed and reviewed existing defense ties and underscored their desire to enhance the cooperation in this field. At the conclusion of two days talks, Secretary Defense thanked the French government for its support to the passage of concessional trade package for Pakistan and hoped that it would continue supporting Pakistan’s case for the GSP+ as well.
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