PARIS, Dec 11: France would extend its full help and cooperation to Pakistan to meet its energy requirements. Addressing a joint press conference following their talks at Elyse Palace, French President Francois Hollande and President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday said that they discussed regional situation and increasing cooperation between the two countries.
The French President said his discussion with President Zardari was very good and encouraging. He said they discussed all the issues and cooperation in the field of education‚ health‚ defence and economy.Replying to a question on cooperation in energy sector‚ the French president said France would extend its full help and cooperation to Pakistan to meet its energy requirements.He said they also discussed the future of Afghanistan and discussed the necessity to tackle terrorism and drug trafficking which he termed the main issue of the world that required international cooperation.He said the role of Pakistan in stability and security in the region was also discussed during the meeting in order to help stability in the region and ease tension. He said for this purpose‚ France has been talking to the international community.The French president said both the leaders also discussed nuclear issue and exchanged views on this important subject.President Zardari said he held very useful and constructive discussion with his French counterpart and discussed bilateral issues and cooperation in many fields.President Zardari said Pakistan and France are good partners‚ and expressed the hope that cooperation and coordination would be continued in future as it remained in the past.The president said Pakistan has been making efforts for provide equal opportunities for education to both boys and girls as Pakistan wants that the young generation should be given the chance to study‚ to live normal life and live like other children of the world. Referring to case of Malala‚ he said every child has the right to get education.The president said: “We are committed to democracy and working against the threat of mindset of terrorism.”
The French president said France is also an active part of many European Union programmes, especially in the health sector. French President Francois Hollande hailed Malala Yousafzai as a global emblem of the thirst for knowledge.Hollande said the 15-year-old was the “symbol of a young girl who fought for access to knowledge and education”, adding: “We all share Malala’s spirit.”Malala is recovering in a British hospital after being brutally attacked on her school bus on October 9.President Zardari has donated $10 million for a global war chest aimed at educating all girls by 2015.The Pakistan leader also slammed fundamentalists for giving the religion a bad name.“The first word of the Holy Quran is ‘Iqra’ which is read,” he said, attacking the “fringe minority of darkness, of hatred, of conflict. “What extremists fear is a girl with a book in her hand,” he said.The UN estimates that 61 million children do not go to school and girls account for two-thirds of this number.In an attack that shocked the world, Malala was shot in the head as punishment for the “crime” of campaigning for girls’ rights to go to school.She survived the murder attempt but requires reconstructive surgery after the bullet grazed her brain, coming within centimetres of killing her.–Agencies