SCO may join NATO in Afghanistan: Musharraf

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Beijing, Apr 14 (UNI) Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said today the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation may join hands with the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, provided it does not lead to a conflict between those trying to bring peace and stability to the country.

President Musharraf, who is on a six-day visit to China was responding to questions by students at the prestigious Tsinghua University. He said resolution of the Afghan dispute was vital not only for China and Pakistan, but also for the world at large.

''We have taken upon ourselves to bring stability and to ensure integrity and sovereignty of Afghanistan,'' he said.

The President who unveiled a plaque to open the Pakistan-China Cultural and Communication Centre at the university addressed the students on 'Pakistan-China partnership for peace, harmony and development.' He said the NATO was already doing its job in Afghanistan, ''and if the SCO joins hands and do something [to end the internecine warfare], than it is very good.'' However, ''if anything leads to conflict between those who want to resolve the crisis in Afghanistan, I would not be for it,'' he said.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an intergovernmental security organization founded in 2001, to deal with the security-related concerns of Central Asian nations that feel threatened by terrorism, separatism and extremism.

Resident Musharraf said the crisis in Afghanistan needs to be addressed through a multi-track approach of military, political and socio-economic aspect. He said he strongly believed that a military solution only created an environment, while the ultimate resolution lay in political handling.

The President said joint efforts for leading to a socio-economic change was vital to bring stability to Afghanistan. He said after the 9 / 11 the Taliban and the al-Qaeda elements entered Pakistan's settled areas and its mountains causing suffering to Pakistanis who had to confront terrorist and suicide attacks.

''The resolution of the Afghan dispute will not come about if everyone was to leave again,'' Musharraf warned.

He said Pakistan and China have extensive collaboration in all areas, including extremism and terrorism and stressed the need for carrying out greater intelligence cooperation to successfully meet the threat. He said Pakistan was pursuing a multi-directional approach to address the issues of poverty, illiteracy, economic disparity and justice to eradicate the sense of alienation.

He said the Pakistan-China ties were time-tested and all-weather and added ''Pakistan's friendship with China is the bedrock of Pakistan's foreign policy and will remain so.'' More XC RP AS2013

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