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Saturday, 24 November, 2001, 16:12 GMT
EU and Pakistan back political process
Guy Verhofstadt
Mr Vehofstadt also heard the concerns of NGOs
Susannah Price

Pakistan's president and the president of the European Union have called for the political process in Afghanistan to be speeded up.

The EU president, currently Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, held detailed talks with President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad about the future of Afghanistan as well as regional issues, including Kashmir.

Both sides were in complete agreement about the need to push Afghanistan's political process forward as quickly as possible and expressed their support for the UN-backed meeting in the German city of Bonn starting on Tuesday.

Fast-track

The EU president, Mr Verhofstadt, said they were hoping for quick results.

UN peacekeepers
Both leaders said a political solution must precede any kind of peacekeeping force
"I think the most important thing now is to have a faster political solution. I think that things can go in a good direction if we could have the fastest as possible agreement between the different ethnic groups in Afghanistan to establish a new government," he said.

Mr Verhofstadt also met several non-governmental organisations who were worried about the continuing instability in Afghanistan affecting their ability to deliver badly needed supplies.

Some have called for a multi-national force to be brought in, under the auspices of the UN, to ensure law and order.

But Mr Verhofstadt said the first necessity was to find a political solution, and President Musharraf said Pakistan did not believe such a force was an immediate priority either.

Bin Laden

President Musharraf was also asked about the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden.

He said he did not know where the terrorist suspect was, but insisted he was not in Pakistan.

The president added that his government had made all arrangements to seal the border with Afghanistan to ensure Bin Laden could not come across.

See also:

22 Nov 01 | Middle East
Iran seeks curb on allied troops
22 Nov 01 | South Asia
Pakistan severs Taleban ties
20 Nov 01 | South Asia
Q&A: What will Afghan talks produce?
21 Nov 01 | South Asia
US hopeful before Afghan talks
22 Nov 01 | South Asia
Afghan women to attend talks
21 Nov 01 | South Asia
Afghan talks switch to Bonn
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