ISLAMABAD: British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Pakistan on Saturday evening to kick off a two day tour, Radio Pakistan reported.
As a first order of business, Cameron met with President Asif Ali Zardari at the Presidency. According to a briefing from the President's spokesperson Farhatullah Babar, the two discussed bilateral cooperation in different fields with a focus on economic ties and the regional situation.
With Cameron arriving in Pakistan on the back of a trip to Afghanistan, the two discussed Afghan-led peace process and the scenario in the backdrop of withdrawal of NATO-led ISAF mission from Afghanistan was also discussed.
Zardari said that Pakistan is a staunch supporter of peace and stability in Afghanistan and it would continue to support every effort aimed at restoring sustainable and long-term peace to the war-torn country.
The President emphasised that Pakistan all along has maintained a constructive approach and believes that dialogue and reconciliation was the only way forward towards ensuring durable peace in Afghanistan and hoped that efforts made would also take into account legitimate concerns of all the stakeholders. He welcomed efforts being made for finding a peaceful solution to the long drawn conflict in Afghanistan.
Earlier in the day, while addressing a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Cameron had hinted at the close Pakistan-UK ties and that these could be used to push for a fruitful peace process.
“We want a democratic Afghanistan that is not a safe haven for terrorists, which doesn’t threaten our national security and is ruled by the Afghans themselves,” commented Cameron.
Zardari reiterated Pakistan’s desire to have a multifaceted and deep engagement with the United Kingdom on various issues based on sovereign equality and mutual trust. He called for expanding the scope of UK Foreign Direct Investment in the fields of energy‚ infrastructure development‚ agriculture‚ agro-based industry and mining.
Cameron assured that England would continue cooperation with Pakistan in curbing militancy, trade access to European Union markets and assistance in the fields of investment and education.
Meeting with Nawaz Sharif
Cameron, who is the first foreign head of state to visit Pakistan after Nawaz Sharif was elected to the prime minister’s hot seat early in June, is expected to meet his counterpart on Sunday.
Earlier, on his arrival in Islamabad, Cameron was received by the Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid. Cameron was accompanied by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan Adam Thompson.
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