EU to pledge humanitarian aid for Pakistan

Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:54am EDT

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BRUSSELS, June 17 (Reuters) - The European Union will pledge at a summit on Wednesday to give Pakistan 20 million euros ($27.78 million) in humanitarian aid to help cope with the aftermath of fighting in the Swat valley, a European Commission official said.

The official said the executive Commission would also urge member states to set aside a further 45 million euros in aid from a reserve fund during a summit that will discuss the fight against terrorism and trade.

"The Commission will announce later today that the EU will give Pakistan 20 million euros in humanitarian aid," the official said before talks scheduled between President Asif Ali Zardari and EU officials in Brussels.

"The Commission will also request from member states and the European Parliament to provide an additional 45 million euros from the EU's reserve fund," the official said, referring to a fund set aside for emergencies.

The summit is the first between the 27-country EU and Pakistan. The EU and the United States want better ties with Pakistan because of concern about the spread of Islamic militancy there.

Pakistan's army is battling Taliban fighters in the Swat valley. About 2.5 million people are estimated to have fled the conflict zone.

(Reporting by Darren Ennis, writing by Timothy Heritage) (timothy.heritage@thomsonreuters.com; +32 2 287 6801; Reuters Messaging: timothy.heritage.reuters.com@reuters.net)) ($1=.7200 Euro)