Zardari claims 'Marshal Plan' victory in 'showdown' with Cameron

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London, Aug.7 (ANI): Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has claimed to have won the much awaited 'showdown' against British Prime Minister David Cameron, saying he has convinced the British leader to back the idea of a Marshal Plan to rebuild Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In an interview with The Guardian, just hours after meeting Cameron at Chequers here, Zardari described the talks as "positive and constructive".

"We had some straight talk and we became friends," Zardari said.

He stressed that investment was the key to winning hearts and minds of both Afghan and Pakistani civilians.

"Some form of Marshall plan needs to be made for Pakistan. That's what I mean how we will get the hearts and minds of the poor people of Afghanistan, by giving them a commercial boost, taking them away from the Talibs who are giving them better pay than we are giving," Zardari said.

When asked whether he asked for explanations from Cameron for his recent outburst targeting Pakistan, Zardari said Islamabad and London would continue to work together to address all issues confronting the two nations, but refused to comment on Cameron's diatribe despite being pressed on the subject.

"We always had a good relationship with Britain and I would say it's a triumph for democracy. The fact is we increased our understanding between myself and the prime minister of Britain. I think the world accepts, if you see the joint communique, it talks about all the positive things Pakistan has been doing ... that Pakistan is part of the solution," Zardari said.

Responding to a question over the huge criticism that he has received for taking a foreign trip at a time when the country was struggling to cope with devastating floods, which has killed over 1600 people, Zardari said he has raised funds for he flood victims in Abu Dhabi, France and Britain.

"It had never ever rained like this in 100 years. Now if I had known it is going to rain so much, and floods would bring that devastation then, we would not have planned this trip," Zardari said. (ANI)

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