ISLAMABAD, Dec 10: A greater market access to Pakistan will help fight the menace of terrorism, says President General Pervez Musharraf. “Pakistan will welcome greater economic cooperation, including lifting of anti dumping duty and provision of GSP-plus, as greater market access will help in the counter terrorism efforts as well as job creation and poverty alleviation in the country,” he said. He was talking to the visiting Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation, Mrs Agnes van Ardenne and Irish Minister of State for Development Cooperation, Mr Conor Lenihan, who called on him here on Saturday.
The president briefed the visiting ministers about ongoing reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in earthquake-hit areas and expressed his appreciation over the relief provided by the Dutch and Irish governments.
The Irish minister of state for development informed the president of Ireland’s decision to pledge additional funds for humanitarian relief. The Netherlands and Ireland are Pakistan’s major trading partners.
Discussions also focused on regional and international issues, including composite dialogue with India, Jammu and Kashmir dispute, situation in Afghanistan and counter-terrorism.
A 65-member Dutch rescue team was sent immediately after the earthquake and was deployed in the Bagh area. One Dutch mobile field hospital is also working there. The Dutch government also pledged $70 million for reconstruction and rehabilitation and 14 million euros towards the UN Flash Appeal for earthquake relief.
Ireland has also established field hospitals in Bagh and Muzaffarabad and has sent tents, medicines, medical teams to the earthquake affected areas.
Some Irish NGOs are also present in the earthquake-affected areas. Ireland has so far committed 5 million euros in humanitarian relief.
The two ministers expressed their sympathies over the loss of life and property in the earthquake.
The Dutch and Irish Ministers, who arrived here Saturday morning on a two-day visit to Pakistan, would also tour earthquake-hit areas in the Azad Kashmir and the NWFP. They will meet representatives of UN agencies and NGOs working in earthquake-affected areas.
AFP adds: Ireland is doubling its relief package for the victims of the October earthquake in Pakistan to 10 million euros ($11.8 million), the government said on Saturday.
Development Co-operation Minister Conor Lenihan said two million euros of the extra money will be committed before Christmas to help with emergency relief efforts.
The remainder will be committed early in 2006 to assist in ongoing relief work and starting the recovery process.