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Jean Asselborn, Minister for Foreign Affairs and current President of the Council of the European Union, presided over a Ministerial Troika Meeting between the European Union and Pakistan in Luxembourg on 27 April 2005. The EU delegation also included Javier Solana, High Representative for the CFSP, and Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan was represented by its Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kurshid Mahmood Kasuri. At the close of the meeting, Jean Asselborn made the following statement to the press:
"We had a very fruitful meeting with interesting exchanges; these exchanges gave us the opportunity to come closer and to get a better understanding of the problems and challenges we both have to face in our respective regions.
The EU attaches great importance to the relations with Pakistan. More than ever before, it seems that there is awareness on both sides of the common interests that bring us together.
We could agree that the incident last week involving Senator Sami-ul-Haq was most regrettable. Nonetheless, we would see this as just a blip against the generally bright background of our improving relations.
Our Pakistani colleagues informed us on political developments in Pakistan, including human rights and democratization issues. The EU stressed the importance of further democratization in Pakistan and encouraged the continuation of the policy of 'enlightened moderation', promoted by President Musharraf.
It was very interesting to hear about the progress made in Pakistan-India relations. The EU firmly supports the Pakistan-India 'composite dialogue', and considers the opening of the bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, as well as the recent visit of President Musharraf to Delhi as a breakthrough.
The Presidency already expressed its hope in a statement on 18th February that Kashmir could become a bridge between India and Pakistan. Success in normalizing relations would secure a place in history for all those concerned.
We shared information with our Pakistani colleagues on the situation in Afghanistan. We are both interested in a secure and stable Afghanistan and fully support the forthcoming parliamentary elections. But we also need to look beyond the parliamentary elections and maintain our commitment and attention to Afghanistan’s new democratic institutions.
The EU also found it important to inform about its efforts to find a diplomatic solution concerning the Iranian nuclear programme.
Further we exchanged views on the UN reform. The EU is strongly determined to promote and pursue the objective of effective multilateralism with the UN at its heart. The ongoing UN reform process is a unique opportunity to reinforce the multilateral system.
As counter-terrorism concerns are very important for EU relations with third countries, the EU is keen to reach agreement with Pakistan in areas like the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and in the fight against terrorism."
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