Islam has nothing to do with terror: French envoy

Karachi - Out-going Ambassador of France, held a press conference at the residence of the French Consul General giving out tit-bits on Pak-French relations, business prospects between both the countries and definitely his version on the War on Terror and how it must be fought. Ambassador Regis de Belenet, with a thirty nine years experience in the diplomacy, with first posting in Australia, came to Pakistan in September 2005, the place which is esteemed to be his last leg of diplomatic postings at the global level. Talking to journalists here at the residence of the Consul General at Bath Island, he said that the first challenged that he faced in terms of arriving into Pakistan was when, the country was struck with Earthquake in October 2005. The French teams were the first to provide medical equipment and treatment to those who had gravely suffered in the area of Balakot. Belenet himself paid a personal visit to Muzzafarabad. Taking about the on-going current situation of Pakistan, Belenet said; "The elections of February 18th 2008, were fair and competitive elections as observed by the European Union." Coming to the fact that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was a tragic and grave event in the world of democracy. He told the reporters, "Nicholas Sarkozy was one of the first Heads of States who paid their condolences at the tragic event that led to her assassination. French People became aware of the enchanted beauty of the late Ms Bhutto when she arrived in France in 1989, in a two hundred years event marking the end of French Revolution. She held friendly relations with the French people, and was known well to the entire population." In speaking on terrorism and what defines terrorism and what should be done to fight it? Belenet was open and fair in his remarks, stating; "There is a marked difference between terrorism and Islam and the two should not be conjoined together. If Islam gets hijacked on the bases of terrorism, the fault does not lie with the religion. Military tools must only be the last tools to resort to fight of terrorism. If one needs to resolve the problem of Israel-Palestine and Kashmir issue the requisite lies in the fact, new mechanisms must be tools to fight the war of terrorism." Speaking about the economic trade ties between the two countries i.e Pakistan and France, he said; "It a balanced trade between the two countries. Around $1 billion of trade ties in terms of export and import are conducted annually. Big French companies have shown their presence on the Pakistani local market, likewise Accor, the leading brand of hotel chain; L'Oreal will be here in around the time of December, Aventis has its outlay in the form of pharmaceutical industry." On the scale of education, he said, "We plan to setup French Development Agency on the likes of USAID. It will be a financial tool, soft loans will be given out and the agency will be setup in Islamabad. " In the field of Higher Education, The French Embassy has plans to take in PhD students from Pakistan and further more plans to setup Sciences University in Karachi. As far as the War on Terror is concerned, he said, "When 9/11 occurred, we came in conformity with the UN Charter, our step was not only military action against the rebels only but e kept in mind the financial and social development. We have presence of Special Forces not only in Afghanistan but also even in Kosovo and Lebanon. Only recently, a conference has been held on Support to Afghanistan in which the European countries pledged an amount of $20 billion for its development sector, France alone contributed $ 300 million."