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Germany

German foreign minister pledges support to Pakistan in terror fight

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has pledged full support to Pakistan in its battle against terrorism on his two-day trip to the country. He also vowed to continue supporting Pakistan's flood victims.

Guido Westerwelle in Pakistan

Westerwelle in Pakistan pledged Germany's support in the fight against terrorism

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has pledged full support to Pakistan in its ongoing battle against terrorism on the first day of a two-day visit to the country.

"Our engagement is necessary to fight against every terrorist act," said Westerwelle. "We encourage Pakistan and Afghanistan to closely cooperate in security issues and Germany as a friend will support you in this regard."

Pakistan's North Waziristan province, on the border with Afghanistan, is known to be a Taliban stronghold.

Following a bilateral meeting, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi called on Germany to liberalize its defense equipment export control policy regarding Pakistan.

"We need defense equipment to enhance our capacity to counter terrorism," he said.

Qureshi also said Germany could help Pakistan develop its renewable energy and agriculture sectors.

Westerwelle was also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and army chief General Ashfaq Kayani.

Westerwelle arrived in the capital Islamabad later than scheduled Saturday morning after his plane was diverted to the eastern city of Lahore due to fog and poor visibility. The four-hour trip to Islamabad by bus forced some of his appointments to be postponed.

Still rebuilding after floods

A man pushes a bike through flood water

Rebuilding efforts are still underway after the floods

The German envoy also vowed to continue supporting Pakistan's flood victims. Around 20 million people were affected by the country's worst-ever floods last summer.

Germany has to date provided Pakistan with around $300 million (232.4 million euros) in humanitarian aid.

"Pakistan is facing very big challenges politically and economically after the floods," said Westerwelle. "We know what it means for the economy, for the infrastructure, for the people."

Germany is taking part in a number of rebuilding projects in the region following the floods, which claimed more than 1,700 lives. Several million people remain homeless. On Sunday, Westerwelle is expected to visit one such reconstruction project.

Later Sunday, Westerwelle is scheduled to fly to Afghanistan. At the beginning of the year, Germany took over one of the rotating seats on the United Nations Security Council and has been charged with coordinating the international community's military and development efforts in Afghanistan.

Germany has 4,800 soldiers in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the third-largest troop contingent behind the United States and the United Kingdom.

Authors: Andrew Bowen, Matt Zuvela, Martin Kuebler (AFP, dpa)
Editor: Kyle James

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