Brussels: The European Union (EU) on Wednesday adopted a plan to build a strong relationship with Pakistan.

Welcoming the adoption, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the five-year engagement plan will contribute to fostering peace and stability in the region. "The EU will continue to work closely with Pakistan as it seeks to address its economic and developmental challenges and provide security for its people," she said in a statement.

Both sides are already meeting at senior official level to discuss implementation of the plan. Ashton said that during her visit to Pakistan in April, she will inaugurate a strategic dialogue, based on the engagement plan, together with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

The announcement of the plan comes only two days before an EU-India summit in New Delhi on Friday. Ashton also expressed her "sincere appreciation" to members of the WTO (World Trade Organisation) for agreeing to the EU's request for a waiver on additional autonomous preferences to Pakistan during a meeting of the Council for Trade in Goods Feb 1.

"I look forward to the WTO General Council confirming this decision during its forthcoming meeting on 14 February," she said. The EU called for these measures in September 2010 following devastating floods in Pakistan. The EU remains committed to support Pakistan in providing assistance for recovery and reconstruction following the floods, added the EU foreign policy chief.