European Union asks Pakistan not to fence-mine border with Afghanistan

European Union asks Pakistan not to fence-mine border with Afghanistan

The European Union (EU) has joined the international concern at Pakistan’s plans to mine and fence a part of its 2500 km volatile border with Pakistan to check illegal movement of arms, men and drugs.

Joining the UN and Canada, EU’s envoy and German Ambassador Gunter Mulack urged that Pakistan explore ‘other means’ before mining its border with Afghanistan.

‘We think that landmines are dangerous and Afghanistan is still suffering from those laid down by the Soviets,’ Mulack told a press conference organised in connection with Germany having assumed the presidency of the European Union.

However, he said that Pakistan was a sovereign country and had the right to make its own decision.

The EU’s stand comes even as President Pervez Musharraf announced last Monday that Canada had made a specific alternative proposal to the fencing-mining one and that he had already asked his officials to examine it.

Kabul has vehemently objected to Pakistan’s move. A brief visit by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz only added to forcefulness and diplomatic drive that includes writing out letters to all UN members.

‘We want to help Afghanistan stabilise and EU is one of the biggest donors to that country,’ Mulack said, adding that peace in Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s interest.

‘We are not Pakistan’s security partners, but will be looking into the problems,’ he added.

Although a part of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, Germany, along with France, is reportedly keen to withdraw from the military operations.

Mulack acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts in fighting terrorism, but said that Taliban activity was continuing in Afghanistan and posed a problem.

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