Germany and Pakistan sign deal on military cooperation | News | DW | 13.03.2012
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Germany and Pakistan sign deal on military cooperation

Germany and Pakistan have sealed a deal that will see both countries' armed forces work together more closely. German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere was in the city of Rawalpindi as part of a tour of the region.

The deal comes after three years of preparation and is mainly aimed at improving intelligence-sharing between the countries. It also provides for cooperation on arms and military maneuvers and the training of Pakistani army officers in Germany.

Pakistan has been designated by de Maiziere as a "key country" in the region, playing an important role in the Afghanistan conflict. Western nations have indicated they are suspicious that members of the country's military and intelligence services have provided support to the Taliban.

With about 550,000 troops, Pakistan has more than twice as many service personnel as Germany and is a nuclear power.

It is the first trip to the country by a German defense minister since Franz Josef Jung visited in 2008.

Border crossings to reopen

Announcing the agreement, Pakistani Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar also revealed that Pakistan planned to reopen routes to Afghanistan that are used by NATO to supply coalition forces.

The roads had been closed for more than three months, as relations between Islamabad and Washington hit a new low point following a US attack on a border post that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops.

De Maiziere's arrival followed a visit to Uzbekistan on Monday, where Germany operates an airbase through which Bundeswehr troops are deployed to Afghanistan.

rc/dfm (AFP, dpa)