- Title: PAKISTAN: British Foreign Secretary David Miliband one day official visit
- Date: 26th November 2008
- Summary: SECURITY PERSONNEL ON GUARD
- Embargoed: 11th December 2008 12:00
- Location: Pakistan
- Country: Pakistan
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVAVJ30VOG1M50UBN9029U040X9
- Story Text: British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who arrived in Pakistan on Wednesday (November 26) for a one-day official visit, met Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gilani in Islamabad.
Earlier, after a breakfast meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Miliband told reporters Britain welcomed the 'reforming zeal' of Pakistan's civilian government that he said was turning the country into an outward-looking force for regional cooperation.
Miliband arrived in Pakistan from neighbouring Afghanistan where 8,000 British soldiers are battling an escalating Taliban insurgency that is buttressed by support from militant strongholds in northwest Pakistan.
After talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Miliband told reporters the civilian government's instincts were 'coming to the fore in Pakistan in a positive way and are gaining the confidence of the international community."
Economic problems and surging militant violence have beset the eight-month-old civilian government, raising fears the nuclear-armed Western ally on the front line of the global campaign against militancy could become a 'failed state'.
While grappling with the economy, the government led by President Asif Ali Zardari, widower of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, has been trying to improve strained ties with both Afghanistan and India.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was due to travel to India later on Wednesday for a four-day visit that will include talks on the old rivals' tentative four-year peace process.
In his talks with Miliband, Qureshi expressed growing Pakistani concern over a series of U.S. attacks on militant targets in Pakistani territory.
Pakistan supports the U.S.-led campaign against militancy but does not allow foreign troops or strikes inside its territory.
It says the attacks violate its sovereignty and undermine efforts to deal with militancy. The government has been trying to build support among other allies for its position.
Miliband said Britain, the former colonial power on the subcontinent, was keen to support fully Pakistan's relatively new civilian and democratic government 'with a real sense of urgency'.
Britain said in July it was doubling assistance to Pakistan to 480 million pounds by 2011, making it the second biggest recipient of British aid, with greater emphasis on the militancy-plagued border with Afghanistan.
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