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Zardari to dine with Cameron, says no to stay at Chequers

President Asif Ali Zardari has spurned an offer to spend the night at British Prime Minister's country retreat at Chequers, but is to go ahead with his meeting with David Cameron to confront his charges of Pakistan promoting "export of terror" head-on.

world Updated: Aug 05, 2010 18:11 IST

President Asif Ali Zardari has spurned an offer to spend the night at British Prime Minister's country retreat at Chequers, but is to go ahead with his meeting with David Cameron to confront his charges of Pakistan promoting "export of terror" head-on.

Though the 'Daily Mail' described the turning down of invitation as "Zardari's snub to Cameron", Downing Street
denied that Pakistan President had snubbed the Prime Minister by refusing to spend the night at the picturesque Chequers.

The decision not to stay at the Chequers was said to be due to a "diary clash", sources at Downing Street said.

Zardari's first "face-to-face" meeting with Cameron over dinner would come after the recently-elected British
leader suggested elements in Pakistan backed "the export of terror" to its neighbours Afghanistan and India.

The Pakistan President in comments made in Paris before flying to London had vowed to confront the charges
head-on during his visit here.

"I will explain face to face that it is my country that is paying the highest price in human life for this war,"
he told the French Daily 'Le Monde'.

The meeting at the informal dinner would come amid continuing diplomatic tensions between the two countries, with
officials hoping that the strains would be eased.

Zardari will travel again to Chequers tomorrow for formal talks between the two. Besides the diplomatic row, the
Pakistan President visit here has been clouded by a clamour back home that he cut short what Pakistani opposition parties are calling a "joy ride".

A number of Pakistani-origin lawmakers in UK have refused to meet Zardari, saying that he should have cancelled
his visit as his country was reeling under worst-ever floods.

Zardari met Conservative party chairperson Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, and is scheduled to meet Home secretary Theresa May today.