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The British Minister for Defence John Hutton called on the Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi today. Minister Hutton has recently replaced Des Brown in Gordon Brown’s Cabinet.

The two Ministers exchanged views on the regional security situation, especially the counter-terrorism effort, developments in Afghanistan, and the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks. In the bilateral context the state of defence cooperation also came under discussion.

The Foreign Minister briefed the British dignitary on the significant improvement in Pak-Afghan relations ever since the Democratic Government assumed office. The Foreign Minister also highlighted important practical steps taken by the Government of Pakistan in the context of Mumbai incident and expressed the hope that India would take rational and cooperative decisions in this regard.

Foreign Minister Qureshi apprised Mr. Hutton on the Government’s multi-pronged strategy in the fight against extremism and terrorism. At the same time he conveyed the Government’s concerns over violations of Pakistan’s territory from across the border, which was counter-productive.

Mr. John Hutton expressed satisfaction over the level of defence cooperation between the two countries and assured the Foreign Minister of the UK’s continued support to help Pakistan enhance its capacity in the fight against extremism and terrorism. He agreed with the Foreign Minister on the need for a long term strategy on Afghanistan with close cooperation between Afghanistan’s neighbours and friends.

19 January 2009

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