European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana has urged Pakistan to refrain from holding talks with al-Qaida in its efforts to restore security in tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.
Solana told reporters in Islamabad Tuesday that al-Qaida militants operate outside the law and constitution of Pakistan. He said he would not accept the idea of peace negotiations with the terror network.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the government wants to give dialogue and reconciliation a chance to quell militancy. But he said Pakistan would consider other options if dialogue fails.
Pakistan's new government has offered to negotiate with militants who are willing to renounce violence.
Solana is on a working visit to Pakistan that began late Monday.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said his country backs Pakistan's plan to hold talks with militants willing to renounce violence.
Miliband, who was wrapping up a two-day visit to Pakistan Monday, also said he supports Pakistan's re-entry into the Commonwealth. Pakistan was suspended last year after President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.