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Pakistani PM to meet British leaders in UK visit

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, July 19, IRNA -- Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani left here for London on a five-day private visit, but will also have a series of official engagements aimed at enhancing Pak-UK bilateral relations, officials said.

Prime Minister Gilani will meet the Deputy Prime Minister of Britain Nick Clegg, as the British Prime Minister David Cameron is on a foreign visit.

Gilani would also meet British Foreign Secretary William Hague and discuss ways to further expand bilateral ties in all spheres.

The Prime Minister would be addressing a Pak-UK Business Forum and seek more British investment in Pakistan.

Pakistan-UK strategic partnership, economic relations and Pakistan's role in fighting extremism and terrorism would figure during his talks, the PM said in a departure statement . Gilani said he looks forward to his meetings with the British leadership.

He said UK and Pakistan were close global partners and the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue initiated in April reflects the depth of their bilateral ties. He stated that both the countries have a multi-layered cooperation in defence, intelligence and counter insurgency.

The statement noted that Britain also supports the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process and acknowledges Pakistan's legitimate interests in Afghanistan.
'It also supports Pakistan in our efforts to find a negotiated and peaceful settlement of all outstanding issues with India including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir,' the Prime Minister said in the statement.

He said Pakistan was also working with its friends in Britain for support to its quest for wider market access in the European Union and efforts to push its case for the revised GSP plus scheme and the passage of trade concession package in the World Trade Organisation.

'We look forward to early commencement of negotiations on EU-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement,' and added these measures would help Pakistan stabilise its economy, increase exports and create jobs.
Gilani pointed that the Department for International Development (DFID) has played a key role in improving primary education in Pakistan. He said the people of Pakistan were deeply appreciative of their help in the aftermath of earthquake in 2005, rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons and the recent floods.

He said London's five year programme of US 1.2 billion dollars in 2008 and 2013 would assist Pakistan in its program to alleviate poverty, improve governance, achieve sustained growth and meet the targets of the Millennium Development Goals.

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