Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cameron and Zardari Agree Joint Deal to Fight Terrorism

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cameron and Zardari Agree Joint Deal to Fight Terrorism

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Waugh Deputy Political Editor

DAVID CAMERON notched up his first foreign policy triumph today as he unveiled a new deal for Britain and Pakistan to jointly combat global terrorism.

After days of tensions, the Prime Minister and Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari emerged from Chequers to declare a fresh agreement on military and civilian co-operation to take on the Taliban and other extremists.

The two leaders heaped praise on each other after what aides described as a "very warm" meeting in the premier's official country residence. Under the deal, there will be an annual UK-Pakistan summit to monitor progress on security as well as trade, aid and other links. For the first time there will be formal exchanges of military information and advice.

In a further display of unity, the men planted a tree in memory of Mr Zardari's late wife, Benazir Bhutto. Ms Bhutto, an Oxford graduate with links to members of the current British Government, was assassinated three years ago.

Mr Cameron angered many Pakistanis last week when, during a trip to India, he said 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 Cameron stands by his comments and Mr Zardari had said he would personally challenge him over the remarks during his visit.

On Tuesday, Mr Zardari also told French newspaper Le Monde the battle for the hearts and minds of ordinary Afghan people had already been lost.

The Pakistani president was also under intense pressure to justify his absence from his country at a time when devastating floods have caused a national tragedy.

In a joint statement today, Mr Cameron and Mr Zardari said that they had "affirmed their commitment to further strengthen strategic and co-operative ties between the two countries".

"Both leaders agreed that a strong, stable, secure and economically prosperous Pakistan is vital to global and regional peace and stability. In recognition of this, both leaders agreed to pursue closer development, economic and trade co-operation as part of the intensified Strategic Dialogue," it said. …

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