Pakistan must stamp out terror: EU

By Manish Chand, IANS,

Marseille : In remarks that appeared to endorse India’s stand on terrorism, the 27-nation EU Monday asked Pakistan to commit itself to root out terrorism “without any reservations” and underlined that if Islamabad shows “enough determination” to fight terror, there would be no need for the US’ hot pursuit of militants in Pakistani territory.

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“There is a need to cleanse extremism and terrorism in Pakistan. I told (Pakistan President Asif Ali) Zardari that there was a need to combat terrorism,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy, also current president of the EU, told reporters at a joint press interaction with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the 9th India-EU summit in this port town.

“We need to help Pakistan if it shows enough determination to combat the Taliban and extremist forces,” Sarkozy told reporters when asked about the US’ unilateral air strikes and ground offensive in tribal lands in Pakistan bordering Afghanistan.

Condemning the “abominable and cowardly” attack on the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad over a week ago, Sarkozy underlined that Islamabad must commit itself to root out terrorism without any reservations and said the EU would extend all possible assistance to it for the purpose.

“We stand by Pakistan. We are willing to help Pakistan and Afghanistan. If Pakistan effectively deals with terrorism, there is no question of pursuing foreign strikes,” Sarkozy said, adding that the people of Pakistan have a right to enjoy peace and security.

The issue of cross-border terrorism figured prominently in talks between Manmohan Singh and Zardari on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York last week.