After snub, Zardari and Brown to meet in London

May 13th, 2009 - 8:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon Brown London, May 13 (IANS) Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is to meet with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Wednesday - their first meeting since the Pakistani leader allegedly snubbed Brown last month.
The talks at Downing Street are expected to centre around the intensifying war between the Pakistani Army and the Taliban in Pakistan’s Swat Valley and North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Zardari is expected to explain to the prime minister the thinking behind his government’s deployment of 15,000 troops in the Swat valley against the Taliban last week, reports said.

The condition of refugees fleeing the conflict, estimated to number 83,000, is also expected to figure in the talks.

With the total number of displaced people across Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) estimated at a million, the British government has pledged an additional 10 million pounds in humanitarian assistance.

The two leaders will also hold a joint press conference, after Zardari pulled out of one in Islamabad last month, apparently angered by Britain’s arrest of 11 Pakistani nationals during anti-terror raids.

The arrests will also figure in the talks — although all the suspects were later released for lack of evidence, several of the men are now facing deportation to Pakistan.

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