Zardari to visit UK 'to maintain strong relations': Kaira

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Islamabad, Aug 1(ANI): Pakistan Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira has said that President Asif Ali Zardari will go ahead with his visit to the United Kingdom to maintain strong relations between the two countries.

Zardari had been facing intense domestic pressure to cancel the trip following British Prime Minister David Cameron's hostile remarks against Pakistan.

However, Kaira said that any confusion over Pakistan's commitment to tackling terrorism would be cleared up during the visit.

"We will put the record straight and we believe after that the co-operation will keep on going," The BBC quoted Kaira, as saying.

"We are in co-operation with the United Kingdom to support anti-terror activities... so our co-operation will keep on going. We want to strengthen our relationship," he added.

Describing Cameron's statement as "a misperception", Kaira also said that Zardari would use the opportunity to "explain the facts" to the British Prime Minister.

According to a press release issued by the Pakistan High Commission in London, during his visit, Zardari will meet Cameron at his country residence in Chequers, on the outskirts of London, on August 6.

He will also meet newly elected Pakistani origin members of the UK Parliament.

On August 7, he will address the Pakistani community at Birmingham's International Conference Centre.

Earlier, on Wednesday, during his visit to India, Cameron said that Pakistan could not "look both ways" in receiving billions of dollars in aid from Western nations while continuing to "promote the export of terror, whether to India or Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world".

He later defended his comments, and said: "I think it's important, as I say, to speak frankly about these things to countries that are your friends".

When asked whether he regretted damaging relations with Pakistan ahead of Zardari's visit, Cameron said: "I don't accept that they have been damaged... I look forward to discussing these and other issues (with Zardari)". (ANI)

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