ISLAMABAD (Online) - President Asif Ali Zardari has said that it is important for the international community to assist the region particularly in providing greater opportunities for trade. He expressed these views while talking to the German Foreign Minister Dr Frank Walter Steinmeier, who is on a one-day visit to Pakistan. The German Foreign Minister expressed profound solidarity with Pakistan. He said that Pakistan occupied a key position in the region and that Germany was desirous of consolidating its longstanding relationship with Pakistan. The President appreciated Germany's constructive engagement with Pakistan and said that Pakistan was equally desirous of a comprehensive up gradation of bilateral ties in different fields. The President apprised Dr Steinmeier of the democratic government's resolve and commitment to pull the country out of the serious economic and political challenges that it had inherited. He said, "Since assuming office, the government had strengthened democracy and there was now political and popular ownership of policies. The government had also taken important steps in the fight against terrorism and extremism." The President underlined that currently the whole region was beset with difficulties and that regional ownership of the situation was important. It was also important for the international community to assist the region particularly providing greater opportunities for trade. Dr Steinmeier underlined comprehensive German support for Pakistan particularly in term of its socio-economic development and in seeking support within the context of the Friends of Pakistan forum. The international community, he said, needed to address Pakistan's needs in the short as well as long term perspective. The very purpose of his visit, he said, was to strengthen relations with Pakistan and assess its requirements. Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday emphasised that the government could ill-afford financial assistance from IMF with tough conditions. Time was running out and there was urgent need for the Friends of Pakistan to extend a helping hand, the President told Advisor to the British Prime Minister Simon McDonald who called on him here on Tuesday. The President, however, clarified that Pakistan was not looking for aid but trade, economic and investment opportunities. The Advisor conveyed the greetings from Prime Minister Gordon Brown and that he fondly recalled the President's visit to the UK in September last where they had a fruitful and candid exchange. Simon said that his Prime Minister had specially sent him to assess the situation in Pakistan, according to a Foreign Office news release issued after the meeting. The British side was highly appreciative of the unanimous Resolution adopted by the Parliament on Government's policy towards tackling the international phenomenon of terrorism. The discussion focused on Friends of Democratic Pakistan Initiative, measures and options being considered by the Government to address the economic difficulties, DOHA Process, situation in the border region, Afghanistan and bilateral cooperation. President Zardari highlighted the government strategy towards handling the economic issues, socio-economic initiatives to settle Tribal Areas, including Benazir Card for every household, and negotiation with the IMF. He underscored that the war on terror, which has its roots in other regional events, had now become Pakistan's war and the country and its people were paying a very heavy price that needed to be acknowledged by the international community. The President quantified how one single incident of terrorism impacted the already turbulent economy. He stressed the need to identify the forces that were funding the militants in this expensive war. He was not convinced that only drug money could be the source of funding. The President informed the visitor on the state of relations with Afghanistan and termed recent exchanges and developments such as Mini Jirga a manifestation of growing understanding and forward movement in relations. They also exchanged views on the state of relations between Pakistan and the UK. Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday asked the ministries to consider sending young Pakistanis for attachment with Chinese companies "to build a reservoir of skilled and trained manpower, well versed in Chinese language and entrepreneur skills". Presiding over a follow-up meeting with the representatives and CEOs of Chinese Corporate, Financial and Banking sector enterprises and state officials, the President said the Chinese entrepreneurs could be persuaded to offer scholarships to young and talented Pakistanis for this purpose. He said he would hold regular meetings to make concrete proposals to the government to further cement strategic and economic ties between the two countries. The meeting was attended by Minister for Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin, Special Assistant to PM on Water Kamal Majeedullah, Special Assistant to Prime Minister for EAD Hina Rabbani Khar, Chairman PAEC and Secretaries of relevant ministries. Chinese Ambassador in Islamabad Luo Zahao also attended the meeting on special invitation. The President during his visit to China from October 15-18 held meeting with Chinese entrepreneur and Chief Executive Officers of major Chinese companies to diversify and enhance Chinese investment in Pakistan. Over a dozen MOUs and agreements were signed during the visit.