LONDON – President Asif Ali Zardari and the British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed on Friday at their meeting here that both countries will continue to work together for fighting militancy and for promoting peace in the region. The two leaders at their meeting at the Downing Street welcomed the ongoing collaboration between the UK and Pakistani governments to tackle violent extremism and radicalization and agreed to enhance cooperation in support of a comprehensive approach by the Government of Pakistan. The meeting was also attended by Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Prime Minister Cameron warmly received the Pakistani leader on his arrival at the Downing Street and shook hands warmly outside the famous number 10 door.
Briefing the media, Farhatullah Babar, Spokesperson to the President said that Pakistan and United Kingdom agreed to prepare a comprehensive plan of action to intensify cooperation in trade and business, defence, development, education, health, security and cultural cooperation. Both the leaders in their discussion had consensual view that terrorism was the enemy of both Pakistan and Britain and that the two countries should continue to work together to fight the menace. President Zardari said that said UK has always supported democracy and he was confident that Britain will continue to support democracy and democratic institutions.
Pakistan appreciated consistent support of the UK for democracy, adding that Britain has a better understanding of the sub-continent than any other country and was well placed to put across Pakistani, point of view before the world. Commenting on Pak-Afghan relationship President Zardari said that the destinies of Pakistan and Afghanistan were inter-twined and both the countries face common challenges and threats. He said that the two countries needed to join hands to overcome the challenges facing them.
Terming Pakistan-Afghanistan partnership a key to peace and development of the two countries the President said that it was important for increased connectivity within the region as well as with the outside world.
President Zardari said that Pakistan is endeavouring for regional peace and stability and dialogue process have started with all the neighbouring countries including India. Recently, Foreign Secretaries of both the countries exchanged views on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir and agreed to continue discussions in a purposeful and forward looking manner with a view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences.
President Zardari appreciated the role played by Britain in seeking trade package for Pakistan from European Union. Pakistan wants to start negotiations for free trade agreement with EU. British Prime Minister Cameron assured that his country would continue to extend support to Pakistan for greater market access within the context of overall package from EU and GSP Plus as well. He also assured that United Kingdom would also support Pakistan’s efforts for institutionalization of Pakistan-EU summit mechanism. The Prime Minister said that as frontline state, Pakistan has rendered more sacrifices in fighting terrorism than any other country of the planet. UK stands with Pakistan to combat the menace, he said.
He further said that Britain is committed to increase ‘mutual cooperation through national security dialogue.’ He said Pakistan has very important and responsible role to play in promoting Afghan-led reconciliation and peace efforts in Afghanistan. British Prime Minister said that UK’s four year education programme for Pakistan would help get more than four million children into school and help recruit and train 90,000 teachers. – App