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UK PM Cameron calls for 'fresh start' with Pak

News18

Updated: April 5, 2011, 12:28 PM IST
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UK PM Cameron calls for 'fresh start' with Pak
British Prime Minister David Cameron is on a one-day visit to Pakistan.

Islamabad: British Prime Minister David Cameron will call for a new start in relations with Pakistan on Tuesday, eight months after sparking a diplomatic row by saying Pakistan should not be allowed to "look both ways" on terrorism.

Cameron, who made those controversial comments on a trip to India in July 2010, will meet Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad, seeking to improve co-operation on counter-terrorism operations and Afghanistan.

"Let's make today a 'fresh start' in our relationship," Cameron will say in a speech, according to extracts released by his office before he arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday.

"It is time for a new step in relations between Britain and Pakistan, and between Britons and Pakistanis."

"Let's clear up the misunderstandings of the past, work through the tensions of the present and look together to the opportunities of the future."

The British government has justified its involvement in the war in Afghanistan by saying the majority of terrorist plots uncovered in Britain have their roots in the lawless Afghan-Pakistan border region.

US ally Pakistan is seen as key to any negotiations to end the decade-long war in Afghanistan because of its influence over the Taliban.

Cameron said in Bangalore last July that "we cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country (Pakistan) is allowed to look both ways and is able, in any way, to promote the export of terror, whether to India or whether to Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world."

Cameron and Zardari attempted to smooth over the row that followed when the Pakistani leader visited London in August. Former colonial power Britain is home to a sizeable minority of people of Pakistani origin.

"I acknowledge that there are challenges that our friendship must overcome," Cameron will say on Tuesday, calling the relationship with Pakistan "unbreakable".

"Whether it's relations with India, our security or questions of governance, if we work closely with one another, if we're clear that we need each other to succeed, we can grasp these difficult issues and move beyond them to a better future."

First Published: April 5, 2011, 12:28 PM IST
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