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Home > News > PTI

France ready to assist Pak in Bhutto assassination probe

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad | January 03, 2008 03:05 IST

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French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Wednesday said that his country was ready to assist Pakistan in the investigations into the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto [Images].

Talking to reporters during a visit to Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi, where the Pakistan People's Party chairperson was killed during a suicide attack on December 27, Kouchner said, "The French government has offered assistance in the probe."

Kouchner, who laid a floral wreath at the site where Bhutto was attacked, appreciated Bhutto's struggle for the promotion of democracy in Pakistan.

Noting that her services in the international arena would always be remembered, he said that France [Images] wanted the promotion of stability and democracy in Pakistan.

Kouchner said that he had offered assistance by French investigating agencies for the probe into Bhutto's killing during his meeting with President Pervez Musharraf [Images] and a decision would be taken by the Pakistani administration.

Kouchner said he had come to Pakistan to express solidarity with the government and the people of the country after the tragic assassination of Bhutto.

France is fighting international terrorism and has been strengthening its collaboration to fight terrorism in all its forms, he said. Terrorism is a global issue and needs to be tackled through common efforts, he added.

During his meeting with Musharraf, Kouchner also handed over a letter from President Nicolas Sarkozi that expressed condolence over the assassination of Bhutto and expressed solidarity with the government and people of Pakistan.

Kouchner said that he was visiting Pakistan not only on behalf of France but the European Union as well. He said that Pakistan and France stood together in the fight against terrorism and extremism and the two countries should put their resources together to confront this problem.

Musharraf informed Kouchner that the official investigation into the assassination "is continuing and the government was determined to apprehend the perpetrators of this crime".

The two leaders also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in the backdrop of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's recent visit to Islamabad and his meeting with Musharraf.

Musharraf underlined Pakistan's commitment to fight terrorism. He also said that the upcoming polls will be "held in a free, fair and transparent manner for which observers from abroad were welcome".

Kouchner, who is on a two-day visit to Pakistan with a 10-member delegation, also met Foreign Minister Inam-ul-Haque, who expressed appreciation for the special gesture by President Sarkozy and the people of France of showing support and solidarity to the people of Pakistan.

The French Foreign Minister also met caretaker Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro, during which the two leaders discussed the war on terror and the probe into Bhutto's killing.




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