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Thursday, 4 March 2010

Message on Pakistani Embassy website:

Foreign Secretary David Miliband calls on President Zardari

London: British Foreign Secretary David Miliband called on President Zardari on Sunday 28th February, during the latter’s private visit to the United Kingdom.

During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction that ever since the democratic government had assumed office in Pakistan relationship between the two countries have further strengthened.

The close cooperation was manifested in the increased number of high level visits, and enhancement of UK’s development assistance from £ 240m in 2007 to £ 665m, which is an acknowledgment of Pakistan’s contribution to the international war on terror, and the need to offset the negative impact in socio-economic sectors. Appreciating Pakistani forces’ successful military operations against the militants and the extremists, he paid tribute to those Pakistanis who laid down their lives in this noble cause.

President Zardari and Foreign Secretary Miliband noted that the progress in relations has been further marked with the establishment of Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP), pioneered by the Great Britain’s agreement to establish a Summit level Strategic Dialogue during President’s visit in May 2009; and formation of a high level Education Task Force by the UK to assist Pakistan in reforming its education sector. The issues of visas, particularly of the Pakistani students and immigration matters, also came under discussion.

They assessed the regional situation including Pakistan – India dialogue and Afghanistan. Mr Miliband stressed the need for India and Pakistan to engage with each other and supported resumption of composite dialogue between the two countries.

Acknowledging the pivotal role of Pakistan, he conveyed his country’s deep appreciation for Pakistan’s support to the efforts towards peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

The President also made a strong case for Pakistan’s requirement of ‘Market Access’ for its products in the EU and sought the UK’s support to that end.

The President also emphasized early mitigation of visa problems faced by Pakistani students. Foreign Secretary Miliband assured the President that there was no discrimination against Pakistani students and delays in visas would be streamlined.

The UK is Pakistan’s lead EU partner in terms of trade, investment and development assistance. On February 16, the DFID in collaboration with Punjab Government launched a £ 50m project in the Pakistan’s dairy sector.

The Pakistani Diaspora in the UK is a source of great strength to the bilateral relations and reinforces the two governments’ efforts towards solidifying relations.

February 28, 2010

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