ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari will hold talks with United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague during his June 27-30 visit to London, sources told The Express Tribune.
A Foreign Office official said that it was expected that the talks would be in particular reference to Afghanistan and the Nato ground lines of communication (GLOC) – that is, the supply routes through Pakistan. The falling out between Islamabad and Washington on this matter could be the focus of the meetings.
Britain has been reported to be playing a major role in mediating between the two, and has also supported Pakistan on a number of its demands.
President Zardari will reach London on June 27 on a private visit to attend the graduation ceremony of his daughter Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari at the University of Edinburgh on June 28. He was scheduled to reach London from St Petersburg after attending the June 20-22 International Economic Forum, but political turmoil sparked by the disqualification of the prime minister by the Supreme Court forced the president to cancel his Russia visit.
Presidential spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar, when contacted, told The Express Tribune that there was a possibility of President Zardari holding official meetings with the British leaders during his stay in London – but said that details of any such meeting would be known later, just before the president arrived in the UK. He avoided going into further details of the meetings and said the engagements, other than the president’s private business, was still being discussed with Pakistani High Commissioner in London Wajid Shamsul Hassan.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2012.
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