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Britain, Pakistan vow to fight terrorism together

Putting last week's diplomatic spat behind them, Pakistani Prime Minister Asif Ali Zardari and British Prime Minister David Cameron have pledged unity in the fight against terrorists at a meeting near London.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, shakes hands with Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari

Cameron and Zardari put their differences behind them

The leaders of Britain and Pakistan are determined to stand united against terrorism, despite last week's comments by British Prime Minister David Cameron that suggested Pakistan was not fully committed to fighting extremism at home.

"This is a friendship that will never break, no matter what happens," Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said outside Cameron's weekend retreat Chequers, northwest of London.

Cameron also spoke of an "unbreakable relationship between Britain and Pakistan based on our mutual interests," stressing that the fight against terrorism was a top priority for the UK government, with London and Islamabad standing united "in the absolutely vital area of combating terrorism."

No mention of earlier row

Cameron and Zardari made no mention of Pakistan's anger over comments made by Cameron last week in India.

British soldier in Afghanistan

Britain and the US have the largest number of troops in Afghanistan

The Pakistani government was outraged after Cameron told an audience in Bangalore in southern India that Britain could not "tolerate the idea that this country [Pakistan] is allowed to look both ways and is able…to promote the export of terror."

Despite the show of unity, relations between the two countries remain strained after Zardari said earlier in the week that the NATO mission in Afghanistan was losing the war against the Taliban.

With 9,500 troops stationed in Afghanistan, Britain provides the second-biggest contingent in the country after the US.

Pakistan's help is seen as essential to Western efforts to stabilize Afghanistan, where the Taliban insurgency is at its strongest since 2001.

Flood aid

Cameron also pledged more funds to help Pakistan deal with the worst floods in its history, which have already killed 1,600 people. Zardari has been under fire for going on a five-day visit to the UK instead of showing his support at home.

The two leaders also agreed to hold an annual summit and Cameron has accepted an invitation to come to Pakistan.

Author: Nicole Goebel (AFP/Reuters)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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