President Asif Ali Zardari has said Pakistan wants trade rather than aid, adding his country should be provided access to European Union (EU) markets. While British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said his country wants free trade between Pakistan and Europe, but that was not possible overnight.

President Zardari and Foreign Secretary Miliband held a meeting in London and said that both leaders exchanged views at length on the matters related to bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom. The Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODC) summit also figured in the discussion.

Acoording to sources, President Zardari said Pakistan was wanted the FODC summit in New York to be co-chaired by US President Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and by himself. He hoped democratic countries around the world would extend assistance from the FODC forum to help Pakistan address the problems facing it.

Regional dialogue, cooperation and resumption of composite dialogue process between Pakistan and India were critical for peace and security of South Asia, he underscored.

Talking to the journalists after the meeting, the British foreign secretary said that the next trade meeting between Pakistan and European countries would take place in the upcoming year.

'President Asif Ali Zardari was right in his stance that bilateral relations between the two countries should not depend on aid only but trade ties be boosted,' he observed.

'Therefore, I am pleased to inform that the first summit meeting between Pakistan and the European Union had taken place in June and it was now a plan from Spanish foreign minister that the next summit meeting should be held in the first six months of the next year', he remarked.

'Trade was the focal point of the meeting, Miliband said. 'We want to step up free trade between Pakistan and Europe but it is not possible overnight. We want Pakistani traders to be part of the international commercial system. Our country can provide Pakistan access to the EU, which is the largest global market,' he remarked. -Online
By: Dawn News