PM to meet Pakistani president for key talks

Downing Street talks with President Zardari expected to focus on Afghanistan

Gordon Brown will hold talks with the Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari, at 10 Downing Street today with the ongoing war in Afghanistan likely to be at the top of the agenda.

Britain and the Nato coalition in Afghanistan are looking for greater assistance from Pakistan in securing the border regions between the two countries.

The Downing Street talks are part of a three-day trip to the UK by Zardari. In a telephone conversation with the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, on Thursday he urged Britain to help Pakistan create more job opportunities and counter illiteracy.

Pakistan is pressing the international community to release more of the funding it has promised the country to help counter extremism.

The international community promised Pakistan $5.7 billion in April but so far it has received only $300m to help those internally displaced.
Zardari also held discussions with Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and called for the 1 million Britons of Pakistani origin to play an active role in UK politics.

Clegg said: "The president and I spent time discussing how Pakistanis can continue to fully integrate in the UK and starve any extremist views that might take hold. It is vital that we support Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and the Taliban and continue to provide assistance to the refugees in the Swat Valley."