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Pakistani, British Leaders Downplay Terror Dispute


British Prime Minister David Cameron and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari have pledged to work together closely to fight terrorism following talks in London. The public display of unity comes on the heels of last week's remarks by Mr. Cameron in which he publicly questioned Pakistan's commitment to combat Islamic extremism.

But after meeting with President Zardari Friday, British Prime Minister David Cameron had nothing but warm words.

"The president and I have been talking about what we see as an unbreakable relationship between Britain and Pakistan based on our mutual interests," said Mr. Cameron. He added the talks at his country retreat covered a variety of subjects.

"What we've been talking about is our strategic partnership and how we can deepen and enhance that partnership to make sure we deal with all the issues where we want to see progress, whether that's in trade, whether that's in education, and also in the absolutely vital area of combating terrorism" said Prime Minister Cameron.

In turn, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was equally positive about the relationship between the two countries.

"It's a friendship which will never break no matter what happens. Storms will come and storms will go and Pakistan and Britain will stand together and face all the difficulties with dignity," Mr. Zardari declared.

The wording was likely designed to defuse Pakistani anger sparked by Mr. Cameron when he accused Pakistan of exporting terror. Pakistan considered it especially insulting because Prime Minister Cameron made the statement in India, a long-time adversary of Pakistan. Mr. Zardari had promised to set the record straight with Mr. Cameron, who called the two nations allies in fighting terrorism.

"We want to work together to combat terrorism to make sure, whether it is keeping troops safe in Afghanistan or keeping people safe on the streets of Britain, that is a real priority for my government and somewhere where, with Pakistan, we are going to work together in this enhanced strategic partnership," Mr. Cameron said.

Mr. Zardari also said the prime minister promised to help Pakistan get access to EU markets.

"I am looking forward to a relationship where Britain supports Pakistan's position around the world; where we can get more trade and less aid," said President Zardari. "We can be self-dependent."

Mr. Zardari has come under fire for being in Europe, while hundreds have died and millions of Pakistanis are suffering after widespread flooding.

Tariq Dar is the chairman of a Pakistani community center in London that has been collecting clothes, blankets, and money for the flood victims.

"He (Zardari) made a blunder, he shouldn't have come here especially in a time of crisis when his people are suffering," Dar said.

Many Pakistanis living in Britain agree that Mr. Zardari's overseas trip at a time of an acute humanitarian crisis at home is ill timed.

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