British PM stands by Pakistan terror remarks: spokeswoman

2nd August 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron stands by comments on Pakistan and the export of terror which sparked a row with Islamabad, his spokeswoman said Monday before a visit by Pakistan's president.

"He stands by his remarks," said the spokeswoman, while stressing that the British premier had not been referring to the Pakistani government itself supporting terrorism.

"He was referring to elements within Pakistan supporting terrorism, not the Pakistani government," she said, after Britain's high commissioner to Islamabad was summoned to the Pakistan foreign ministry.

Relations between London and Islamabad soured last week when David Cameron said Pakistan could not be permitted to "look both ways" in promoting the export of terror while publicly working for stability in the region.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is due to arrive in Britain from France on Tuesday for a visit lasting several days, and will meet Cameron at his country residence outside London Friday.

The spokeswoman insisted that there were "very good, strong" links between Britain and Pakistan on many levels, adding: "We want to continue to work very closely with Pakistan in the future."

She also said Cameron had acknowledged that Pakistan was "taking action against extremism."

"The Pakistanis face very big challenges, that is well known and the prime minister is looking forward to discussing those with President Zardari on Friday," the spokeswoman said.

Asked how Cameron felt about effigies of him being burnt in the street by protestors in Pakistan, she added: "Clearly people have a right to protest but as I say we have very good, strong relations with Pakistan.

"They face many challenges and we want to work with them".

© 2010 AFP

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