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A Ministerial meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan was held in Tokyo on 17 April 2009 under the chairmanship of the President of Pakistan Mr. Asif Ali Zardari.

Thirty one countries and eighteen international institutions attended the FODP Ministerial meeting and Donors Conference. Prominent among the participants were Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone, the Foreign Minister of Japan, Mr. Richard Holbrooke, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU Commissioner, Mr. Stephen Smith, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia, Mr. Yu Myung-hwan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea, Sheikh Abdullah bizn Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, UAE, Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Iran, Professor, Dir. Mehmet Aydin, State Secretary, Turkey, Mr. Yousef Al-Bassam, CEO, Saudi Fund for Development, Saudi Arabia, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, UK and Mr. Cui Tiankai, Ambassador of China to Japan.

Addressing the meeting, the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Taro Aso emphasized the need to show solidarity with Pakistan as the latter was playing a vital role in countering terrorism. Appreciating the enormous sacrifices made by the people of Pakistan, the Prime Minister stated that Japan was ready to assist Pakistan overcome the current challenges. He announced a pledge of one billion dollars to Pakistan on behalf of Japan.

President Asif Ali Zardari appreciated the efforts of the Government of Japan for hosting the FODP Ministerial Meeting and the Donors’ Conference. He stated that the meetings would make the world realize the sacrifices made by the people of Pakistan to fight terrorism. He further stated that the Afghan war brought in its wake heroin and klashinkov culture in Pakistan. The world, however, abandoned Pakistan once the Soviet forces had left Afghanistan. He underscored that a consistent international cooperation would be required to bring Pakistan out of the current situation. He exhorted the international community to come forward in helping Pakistan at the critical juncture of its history.

The President expressed his gratitude on behalf of the people of Pakistan to the Friends of Democratic Pakistan for lending their individual and collective support to Pakistan enabling it to realize the vision of a democratic, progressive, welfare state, committed to the consolidation of democratic institutions, the rule of law, good governance, achieving socio-economic advancement, economic reform, and overcoming the challenges posed by terrorism and extremism.

Ambassador Holbrooke stated that he was moved by the remarks of the President. He stated that he had brought the message of support for the government and the people of Pakistan from the Obama administration. He said that Pakistan and the United States faced a common threat and a common challenge. Mr. Holbrooke announced a one billion dollar pledge on behalf of the United States.

Dr. Benita Ferraro, the EU Commissioner stated that the partnership with Pakistan was an important policy of the EU. She applauded the efforts of the Government of Pakistan to defuse the political turbulence in the country.

Sheikh Abdullah biz Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, UAE, stated that the UAE would continue to invest in Pakistan and underscored the importance of Pakistan for the stability of the region.

The Foreign Minister of Iran stated that Pakistan was an important country of the region and Iran-Pakistan traditionally enjoyed close and friendly relegations. Both the countries had decided to finalize the Iran-Pakistan gas pipe line. He expressed the support of his country for Pakistan.

Professor Dr. Mehmet Aydin, State Secretary, Turkey stated that sound political and economic support was needed for Pakistan. Turkey offered to host next meeting of the FODP at Istanbul.

The Chinese Ambassador stated that stability of Pakistan was vital for the peace of the region. He stressed that Pakistan’s sovereignty and political independence must be respected and China would continue to provide assistance to Pakistan through bilateral means.

The meeting acknowledged the important role of Pakistan and the great sacrifices that Pakistani people had made in confronting the menace of terrorism and extremism as well as Pakistan’s strong commitment to become an anchor of stability and peace in the region as a whole.

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated that the statement adopted at the meeting reflected the commitment of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) Forum to partner with Pakistan and support it in its efforts to build a progressive and moderate society. He further stated that the ministerial meeting was a milestone which gave a loud and clear message that the Friends stood shoulder to shoulder with Pakistan.

The Advisor on Finance, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, gave a presentation on the state of Pakistan’s economy and stated that Pakistan was doing its best to convert current challenges into opportunities.
Over five billion dollars were pledged at the Donors’ Conference.

17 April 2009

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