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Pakistan’s ISI cancels Britain visit
London/Washington, Jul 31 (IANS):
Published on 31 Jul. 2010 11:25 PM IST
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Talks between Pakistan’s top intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Britain’s security officials have been cancelled after British Prime Minister David Cameron accused Pakistan of “exporting terrorism”.
ISI called off the planned talks protesting Cameron’s comments that elements within Pakistan are responsible for exporting terrorism abroad, an ISI spokesman said late Friday.
“The visit has been cancelled in reaction to the comments made by the British prime minister against Pakistan,” the spokesman was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
“Such irresponsible statements could affect our co-operation with Britain.”
Cameron’s comments came Wednesday during his visit to India.
“We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able, in any way, to promote the export of terror, whether to India, whether to Afghanistan, or to anywhere else in the world,” the British prime minister said.
British officials, however, said a visit by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari would still take place. Zardari is expected to stay with Cameron at his country residence. “Our understanding is that the visit is on,” a foreign office spokeswoman said.
Meanwhile, playing down revelations of Pakistani spy agency ISI’s links with Taliban militants, the United States has again suggested these are “historical links” and Pakistan has now made a “strategic shift” and attacking their safe havens inside its territory.
“It is very, very important to understand that there have been historical links going back a couple of decades,” State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley told reporters Friday reiterating WikiLeaks did not reveal any new information about “Pakistani interest in and association with elements that have played a role in Afghanistan.”
But “we believe that Pakistan has made a strategic shift,” he said. “They are now aggressively attacking these elements inside their borders that have safe havens inside of Pakistan’s territory that not only threaten Afghanistan, the United States, but also Pakistan.”
However, “the links between Pakistani agencies and these elements have been known and understood for quite some time,” Crowley said suggesting “The real question is: What is Pakistan doing now?”
The US is “satisfied with the action, the aggressive action that Pakistan has taken. But we want to see Pakistan continue on the offensive. We’ve made that clear since these documents came out,” he said referring to the whistle blower organisation’s publication of over 90,000 secret US military documents.
Asked why the US was continuing to give billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan when there was no accountability, Crowley said: “We are investing in Pakistan because it’s in the United States’ interest to do so. We have a presence in Afghanistan because it is our interest to do so.”
“We are working cooperatively across the region, including with India, because ultimately, these are countries that have to live together and find stable relationships that serve their own interest and a collective interest,” he said.
“That’s what we’re trying to do and we think we have the right strategy to do this. We’ve emphasised and taken a regional approach to this challenge, which is why we have a relationship with Afghanistan, we have a relationship with Pakistan, we have a relationship with India.”
“All three countries and others can play a role in helping to stabilise the situation,” Crowley said.

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