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Pakistani president, UK prime minister meet despite terror row

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Zardari adviser defends London visit
  • British PM and Pakistan President hold talks at Chequers
  • Both leaders pledge to increase economic and security cooperation
  • Meeting overshadowed by Cameron comments
  • Zardari facing criticism for being away while parts of Pakistan suffer flooding

(CNN) -- Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari and the British Prime Minister David Cameron Friday pledged to increase cooperation between the two countries on economic development and security issues.

Meeting at Cameron's official country residence, Chequers, both leaders affirmed their commitment to further strengthen strategic ties, said Downing Street.

Both leaders appeared to be making an effort to smooth relations between the two countries after the diplomatic spat prompted by comments made by Cameron about Pakistan promoting the export of terror.

Zardari is also facing criticism for being away from home during devastating flooding in north-east Pakistan.

"It's a friendship that will never break no matter what happens," Zardari said.

"Storms will come and storms will go and Pakistan and Britain will stand together and face all the difficulties with dignity and we will make sure that the world is a better place for our coming generations."

Cameron expressed support for Pakistan's democratic government and support for coping with the damage caused by recent floods, Downing Street said.

Zardari thanked Cameron for the UK's pledge of £10 million of immediate relief for flood victims.

The British PM, who had dinner with Zardari on Thursday evening, has not publicly apologized for his comments about Pakistan promoting the export of terror.

Cameron said Friday he recognized the sacrifices made by Pakistan's military and population in fighting violent extremism, Downing Street said.

Speaking to the press after their Chequers meeting, which lasted about an hour, Cameron said: "We want to work together to combat terrorism, that is a real priority for my government."

Zardari invited the Prime Minister to make an early visit to Pakistan and Cameron accepted, Downing Street added.