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Cameron and Zardari holding talks

David Cameron and Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari are set to meet for formal talks as the two leaders attempt to smooth relations following a diplomatic spat between Britain and Pakistan.

The Prime Minister will pledge Britain's support for "stability, security, democracy and prosperity" in the country during the talks between the pair at Chequers, Downing Street said.

On Thursday night, the pair had an informal private dinner at the country retreat ahead of the talks, which will cover counter-terrorism co-operation, Afghanistan, the international response to the floods in Pakistan and bilateral trade.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "It is an important opportunity to reinforce the strong links between the UK and Pakistan and continue to support stability, security, democracy and prosperity in Pakistan."

The Prime Minister caused anger in Islamabad last week when during a trip to India, he said that elements in Pakistan should not be allowed to "promote the export of terror whether to India, whether to Afghanistan or to anywhere else in the world".

Mr Zardari, who is on a five-day visit to Britain, said he would personally challenge Mr Cameron over the remarks. Mr Cameron continues to stand by the "clear and frank" comments.

Downing Street said the talks would cover the "full range of shared interests" that existed between the two countries.

The spokesman said the two leaders would also discuss the international response to the floods crisis and what more Britain can do to help.

Britain has donated £5 million through UNICEF to support emergency relief for 800,000 people on top of £5 million already donated to the Pakistan Emergency Response Fund.

Following their talks, Mr Zardari will head to Birmingham on Saturday where he will host a rally of his Pakistan Peoples Party and speak to members of the Pakistani community about the issues facing the country.


From Belfast Telegraph