British Prime Minister David Cameron, right, greets Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani in Downing Street, London on Thursday May 10, 2012. -AP Photo

LONDON: The United Kingdom Thursday vowed to build on a deeper and stronger relationship with Pakistan saying its future matters greatly to Britain and agreed on building up ties in trade, defence, health and education sectors.

Prime Minister David Cameron after a meeting with Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani categorically stated that the United Kingdom will be an enduring friend to the government and people of Pakistan.

“Both countries are committed to working together as equals to create the conditions for greater prosperity and security in Pakistan and the UK,” a joint statement issued at the end of the talks said.

Prime Minister Gilani and Cameron discussed trade, economic growth and development, cultural co-operation, security and education at 10 Downing Street and reviewed the progress being made since the two leaders made the commitment in April 2011 in Islamabad for a deeper and broader dialogue between the two countries.

The dialogue is aimed at strengthening friendship and promoting mutual prosperity and security. The two leaders also took into account the global economic crisis and agreed that it requires both the countries to make tough decisions to deliver future growth and prosperity. It was also agreed to have a regular dialogue between the governments on economic reform.

Prime Minister Gilani and David Cameron also discussed the shared national security challenges and the cooperation in counter-terrorism.

They reviewed the outcome of the meeting of the Joint Working Group which met in October and the National Security Discussions between the civilian and military experts in this regard.

Prime Minister Cameron acknowledged the huge sacrifices by the people of Pakistan and said the UK stands along Pakistan, as a partner against the menace of militancy, terrorism and extremism.

Gilani said the UK and Pakistan enjoy unique people-to-people links with over one million British citizens with close family ties to Pakistan.

Prime Minister Gilani said Pakistan and the UK are bound together by longstanding ties based on shared history, values and rich people-to-people links.

A Joint Statement issued after the First Annual Summit of the UK-Pakistan Enhanced Strategic Dialogue noted that since its launch in 2011 the dialogue between the UK and Pakistan has become deeper and broader.

The two prime ministers reviewed the practical co-operation on shared interests which has intensified across the five areas covered under dialogue; including trade, economic growth and development, cultural co-operation, security and education.

Prime Minister Gilani and Prime Minister Cameron also launched a Trade and Investment Roadmap, setting out the steps both governments will take to promote investment, support business and achieve the target of increasing bilateral trade to $2.5 billion by 2015.

Both Prime Ministers urged UK companies to look at the opportunities the Pakistan market presents and build on the success of the over 100 UK-based companies already doing business in Pakistan.

Prime Minister Gilani pledged his government's full support in ensuring an enabling business environment to attract and sustain UK trade with, and investment in Pakistan.

Gilani also expressed appreciation for the UK's consistent support to Pakistan for enhanced market access to the European Union. He hoped that the UK would continue to support Pakistan's request for GSP and early finalisation of Autonomous Trade Preferences package.

Prime Minister Cameron assured UK's continued support in this regard, and also encouraged Pakistani businesses to look at the opportunities the UK offers and its role as a gateway to Europe.

Under the Economics and Development field, the two prime ministers noted that the global economic crisis requires both countries to make tough decisions in order to deliver future growth and prosperity.

On Security and Defence, both Pakistan and the UK evinced an unwavering commitment to work together to combat the menace of terrorism and extremism.

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