Summary: 8 February 2012, Brussels - Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today on the adoption by the Council of the EU-Pakistan 5-year engagement plan:
"I welcome the adoption of the EU-Pakistan 5-year engagement plan by the Council. This plan aims to build a strong relationship by forging a partnership for peace and development rooted in shared values, principles and commitments and will contribute to fostering peace and stability in the region. The 5-year plan is an expression of the EU's determination to support Pakistan's institutions and civil society. The EU will continue to work closely with Pakistan as it seeks to address its economic and developmental challenges and provide security for its people. The two sides are already meeting at senior official level to discuss implementation. During my upcoming visit to Pakistan, I will inaugurate a strategic dialogue, based on the engagement plan, together with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.
I also want to express my sincere appreciation to members of the WTO for agreeing to the European Union's request for a waiver on additional autonomous preferences to Pakistan during a meeting of the Council for Trade in Goods on 1 February. I look forward to the the WTO General Council confirming this decision during its forthcoming meeting on 14 February. The European Council called for these measures in September 2010 following devastating floods which destroyed livelihoods and communities throughout the country. I believe that the decision of the WTO, once confirmed, will help Pakistan and the affected population in their efforts to overcome this disaster. The EU remains committed to support Pakistan in providing assistance for recovery and reconstruction following the floods."