Paris, February 2, 2010
The current situation in Pakistan is for France a cause of great concern. The country is confronted with a deterioration in security which is hitting its people hard. The growth of extremism is today the most serious threat. Indeed, terrorist violence is spreading across the country beyond the traditional Taliban-settled regions to the tribal areas and north-west border province.
A series of suicide bombings and commando attacks has killed nearly 700 people since the beginning of October 2009. It is up to the Pakistani authorities to mobilize all the political, economic and military means at their disposal to fight the scourge of extremism and terrorism. Democratic institutions must emerge in the most vulnerable areas and replace the structures set up by the Islamic fundamentalists, particularly in the sphere of justice. The return of the estimated 2.3 million people displaced by last year’s army-led operations against the Taliban, in the Malakand District and Waziristan, must be completed smoothly. It is also crucial to implement the fundamental reforms to reduce poverty and improve basic education and health services. Ultimately, a well-equipped and well-trained police force must be capable of taking over from the army.
France and the international community stand at Pakistan’s side to help her in this difficult battle against terrorism. Our country has released €12.3 million of aid for the people displaced from Swat valley because of the clashes between the Pakistani army and the Taliban. This aid consists, on the one hand, of €2.3 million of emergency aid, in the form of a grant, to a large extent already disbursed and implemented by the United Nations organizations, International Red Cross and certain NGOs, and, on the other, of €10 million for reconstruction, in the form of a very soft loan, to be provided through the [international NGO] AFL.
France’s action complements that of her European partners. A European Union action plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan was adopted in October 2009. Its priorities include support for the socio-economic development of the Malakand tribal agency and strengthening of cooperation on the rule of law./.