London: British Prime Minister David Cameron will not apologise for his ‘hostile remarks against Pakistan’ when President Asif Ali Zardari arrives in London on Tuesday to begin his five-day official trip.
The Prime Minister, during his last week’s visit to India had accused elements within Pakistan of ‘looking both ways’ on terrorism.
Cameron’s aides said that he did not regret his comments, despite them creating fury in Islamabad.
He, however, will absolve the Pakistan government of any blame for promoting extremism and violence, as he is determined to build on a history of good relations between the two countries, The Independent reports.
Zardari, on the other hand, has defied domestic pressure to cancel the trip in which he will discuss issues ranging from export tariffs to terrorism.
He is expected to make clear his displeasure over his host’s remarks, and convey the sentiments of the Pakistanis in a forthright manner.
According to a press release issued by the Pakistan High Commission in London, Zardari will meet Cameron at his country residence in Chequers, on the outskirts of London, on August 6.
Despite pressure from Islamabad to cancel the trip, Pakistani Ambassador to the UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, had urged Zardari to go ahead with the trip to clear the situation.
“You don’t give up talking just because you’re upset. You discuss these matters. If we find that the British Prime Minister is amenable, then fine. If not, then we can consider other options,” Hasan said.
“Cameron did plain talking, so the president will do plain talking,” he added.
Earlier, Cameron had 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”.