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15 Jun, 2009 15:53

“World should be a non-nuclear world” – President of Pakistan

In an interview with RT, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has discussed regional stability and the role of the Shanghai Co-operation organization in it, as well as Pakistan’s relations with Russia and the USA.

RT: Thank you very much for joining us. You’ve come here, to Yekaterinburg, to take part in the Shanghai Co-operation Organization’s summit. How do you assess the organization’s potential to contribute to peace and stability in the Eurasian region? And also, Pakistan currently has observer status in the organization. Do you think full membership is in order in the future?

Zardari: We’ve always been hoping to obtain full membership, and we would welcome full membership. I think Pakistan has proven to the world that we are a very important region. It’s a very far-sighted concept of the Shanghai forum, which brings together regional concepts, which are today considered the future of the world. In the future, regional trade, regional responsibility, regional security and regional support will be the answer to all regional issues.

I think it is a very far-sighted forum, and I am happy to be on it.

RT: And how do you view Pakistan’s current relationship with Russia?

Zardari: I think we are moving towards a very constructive relationship. That’s my objective, to bring Pakistan and Russia together bilaterally, and a new era, where we can understand each other better and take advantage of our proximity.

RT: And let’s move to other things now. There are reports that the anti-militant campaign in the Swat valley is now heading towards completion. Do you think the success of this operation will help Pakistan improve its image in the eyes of the international community?

Zardari: I think democracy always brings dignity to all regimes. And democracy is proving to be working. It means taking responsibility, and people have taken responsibility, the public has taken responsibility. That is the secret of success in our operations.

RT: You know that these operations in the Swat valley and other areas of the Malakand division have displaced several million people. In fact, about three million people in recent weeks. Aren’t you concerned that this campaign to crack down on the militants may turn public opinion against you?

Zardari: This is the challenge of our times and this is the challenge of this war. We have two wars. One is the physical war against the militants. The other is looking after those displaced, which is the war of the hearts and minds of the people. I’ve called upon the world, and the world has come forward to support us. But we need more support and more help, in order to win people’s hearts and minds.

RT: Are you satisfied with the way the new US strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan is developing?

Zardari: I think the Obama doctrine brings a new look into the situation. We are waiting and hoping it will be for the better.

RT: Given the recent developments in North Korea, would Pakistan join the international efforts to promote a more rigid non-proliferation regime?

Zardari: Pakistan has always been for the non-proliferation treaty. We believe that the world should be a non-nuclear world.