FoDP form multi-donor trust fund, UK to give 50m pounds US reaffirms commitment to Pak economic cooperation : ‘Stable Pakistan greatest hope against terror’

* Zardari says success against Taliban victory for world
* Pakistani government, people have shown firm resolve against terrorists

A stable and prosperous Pakistan is the world’s greatest hope against the spread of extremism and terrorism, President Asif Ali Zardari said on Thursday.

Co-chairing the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) meeting with US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Zardari said, “The success we have made during this first year of democracy is not the victory of a man, but rather the success of all nations. We have fought the extremists successfully in Swat. It is a victory not just for Pakistan, but for democracies all over the world.” He said a year ago, “Pakistan was seen as weak and at risk. Today, we are in a much-improved situation. In our economic strength will rest our political stability. You have stood with us in our common struggle against the menace of terrorism”.

Resolve: “A battle we fight for ourselves and on behalf of all humanity. Our people have united against the ideology and tactics of the terrorists. We have shown resolve and determination,” Zardari added.

He said the forum was the best example of the international acceptance that Pakistan was at the frontline of the struggle of this new century.

British aid: Addressing the FoDP forum, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said a multi-donor trust fund was necessary for sustained financial support for Pakistan’s economic development and prosperity.

The British leader also announced 50 million pounds in economic aid for development in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas.

In his brief statement, Brown praised Islamabad’s campaign to rid the restive border regions of extremism for bringing stability to the region.

“We will support Pakistan’s democracy,” he stated after leaders of major economic powers from Europe, America and the Gulf region expressed their support for Pakistan.

Earlier, addressing the meeting, US President Barack Obama announced that the US Senate had unanimously passed the long-awaited Kerry-Lugar Bill, which would authorise $1.5 billion annually in economic assistance for Pakistan over five years.

US reaffirms: Obama reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to economic cooperation with Pakistan. Zardari thanked Obama and Brown for their support for the democratic government in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the government and the World Bank on Thursday announced the establishment of a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF), designed to restore infrastructure, services and livelihoods in the country’s conflict-affected areas of NWFP, FATA and parts of Balochistan.

Daily Times