Britain tells Pakistan time is ripe to tackle Al-Qaeda

1st July 2011, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday told Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari there was a chance to "move decisively" against Al-Qaeda following Osama bin Laden's death.

During talks in London, the leaders also pledged to help war-torn Afghanistan, with Cameron urging Pakistan to make efforts to persuade the Taliban to break their links with Al-Qaeda, a spokesman from the British premier's Downing Street office said.

During their first face-to-face talks since bin Laden's death, Cameron and Zardari "discussed terrorism, agreeing that it is a global phenomenon that should be fought by intensifying cooperation at all levels," said the spokesman.

"Mr. Cameron appreciated Pakistan's full commitment to fight terrorism and stressed that there was now an opportunity to move decisively against Al-Qaeda, a group that has done so much harm to Pakistan as well as internationally."

Bin Laden, who led the Al-Qaeda terror network, was killed in a US Navy SEALs raid in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad on May 2.

Relations between Pakistan and the West deteriorated sharply over the killing, which humiliated the Pakistani military and invited allegations of both incompetence and complicity.

In the latest sign of tensions, it emerged on Monday that Pakistan had asked Britain to withdraw a team of military trainers, citing security concerns in the wake of bin Laden's death.

At Friday's talks in Downing Street, the leaders also "agreed that a stable Afghanistan is in the interests of countries in the region and the rest of the world," said the prime minister's spokesman.

"They both support the Afghan-led process towards reconciliation and peace," he said.

Cameron encouraged Pakistan to "play a constructive role in supporting an Afghan political process within the framework of the Afghan constitution that separates the Afghan Taliban from Al-Qaeda and persuades them to move away from violence," said the spokesman.

Britain insists that Pakistan is one of its key allies in the fight against terrorism, although Cameron got off on the wrong foot with Islamabad at the start of his premiership.

On a trip to India last year just a few months after taking power, he said Islamabad could not be allowed to promote "the export of terror".

A visit by Cameron to Pakistan in April was widely seen as an effort to fix the damage caused by his previous comments.

© 2011 AFP

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