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World leaders contact Pakistani leadership to discuss Mumbai fallout

December 02, 2008 00:38 IST

Amid rising tensions in Indo-Pak ties after the Mumbai attacks, a number of world leaders, including British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and German Chancellor Angela Markel, held consultations with the Pakistani leadership to prevent the escalation of the crisis.
    
Miliband, who telephoned Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday, expressed the hope that Pakistan and India "will continue their bilateral cooperation" for stability and economic development in South Asia.Miliband also called Zardari on Monday evening.     
    
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had called the Indian prime minister to express shock at the attacks and had assured the Indian leadership of Pakistan's support at this critical time, Qureshi was quoted as telling Miliband by an official statement.
    
Prince Karim Agha Khan, the spiritual head of the Ismaili community, too arrived in Islamabad in the wake of the
tensions between India and Pakistan. He called on Zardari and discussed matters of national interest, officials said.
    
Zardari yesterday made telephonic calls to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Afghan President Hamid Karzai to
discuss the regional situation. Zardari and Sarkozy agreed to meet early next year. The French President also expressed his support for democracy in Pakistan.
    
German Chancellor Markel telephoned Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani last night to discuss the regional situation.
    
Gilani also received calls from his Czech counterpart Mirk Keplonic and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.
Keplonic said his government will avail all diplomatic channels to normalise relations between India and Pakistan. He
said regional peace is vital for world peace and any disturbance in the region would damage efforts to combat
terrorism.
    
Erdogan assured Gilani of Turkey's fullest support for normalising relations between India and Pakistan. Gilani
expressed the hope that his efforts would bring positive results and India and Pakistan would "again pursue the path of
dialogue which is essential for the development of South Asia".
    
Pakistan has also sought help from its "all weather" ally China to ease the tension in Indo-Pak ties in the aftermath of
the audacious strike.
    
Qureshi called up his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on Saturday and discussed the fallout of the Mumbai attacks.
    
The Pakistani Foreign Minister also spoke with his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, on Saturday.
    
India has linked elements in Pakistan to the terror attacks in Mumbai that killed nearly 200 and injured hundreds.
Pakistan has denied the charge and asked India to share evidence related to the terrorist strikes.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad