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British Foreign Minister David Miliband, who is on a visit to Pakistan, held a meeting with Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi today.

The two Foreign Ministers discussed bilateral relations, matters relating to the European Union, the Friends of Democratic Pakistan Forum, counter-terrorism, situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s relations with India and Israeli attacks on Gaza. Foreign Minister Qureshi also hosted a lunch for Foreign Minister Miliband and his delegation.

Foreign Minister Miliband, who had come from New Delhi, briefed Foreign Minister Qureshi on his visit to India. Foreign Minister Qureshi appreciated his balanced and rational statements during his interactions in India.

Foreign Minister Qureshi also noted the positive aspects of Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s statement yesterday. He said Government of Pakistan will conduct a transparent inquiry into the Mumbai terrorist attacks, which will use the information provided by India as well as Pakistan’s own investigations, to establish legally tenable evidence to bring the perpetrators to justice. He said Pakistan remains determined to uncover full facts pertaining to the Mumbai incident. He stressed the need for close cooperation between Pakistan and India to defeat terrorism, which is the common enemy of the people of Pakistan and India.

Foreign Minister Qureshi briefed Foreign Minister Miliband on President Asif Ali Zardari’s recent visit to Afghanistan. He mentioned that there was a greater coordination and trust between the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan since President Karzai’s visit to Islamabad to attend the inauguration of President Zardari.

Foreign Minister Qureshi also apprised Foreign Minister Miliband on the government’s domestic priorities and the concrete measures taken to meet various challenges facing the country, including the multi-pronged strategy to counter extremism and terrorism.

The two Foreign Ministers underscored that bilateral relations were rooted in a long historic association. United Kingdom is amongst Pakistan’s largest trading and economic partners. Pakistan is also a recipient of substantive development assistance from UK. The presence of around one million British citizens of Pakistani origin reinforces this relationship.

16 January 2009

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