ISLAMABAD - President Zardari has said the cross-border attacks by Afghan Taliban were a serious cause of concern for Pakistan.

Talking to Member European Parliament Michael Gahler here on Wednesday, President Asif Ali Zardari said that Pakistan’s economy was badly affected due to terrorism and devastation by flood. He said cross-border attacks on security personnel were a cause of serious concern for the bilateral ties as well as for the regional peace.

The president called for concrete steps to eradicate terrorist safe havens. He emphasised that in wake of huge economic cost of the ongoing war against terror and the devastating floods‚ trade not aid was the most sustainable option for Pakistan.

He said that greater trade access to Pakistan in the EU markets would help the country counter terrorism in line with the government’s three-pronged policy of Development‚ Dialogue and Deterrence. He urged the European Union to initiate FTA negotiations with Pakistan.

The president stressed early realisation of the pledges made to the country by EU member states and European Commission from the platform of FoDP ministerial meeting in Brussels in October 2010.

President Zardari said Pakistan wants peaceful relations with its neighbours; “ties based on mutual respect‚ sovereignty‚ trust and cooperation”.

Michael Gahler assured the president of continued support of the European Union for democracy in Pakistan.