Friday, 6 August 2010


It's always difficult when people drop by for a meal, food aside what do you talk about? It's especially difficult when those awkward silences arise! Last night (Thursday) Prime Minister David Cameron had a not particularly unexpected or unannounced dinner guest, in the shape of President Zardari of Pakistan, who dropped by on the off-chance of catching the PM in at Chequers.

Mr Zardari (whose own money matters (and misdeeds in the past) would make Lord Ashcroft's money matters pale into insignificance) was Mr Cameron's guest at a private dinner at the PM's country residence. The after-dinner conversation would have left little room for any uncomfortable moments of silence, as there was much to talk about with plenty of lively conversation with counter-terrorism co-operation, NATO operations in Afghanistan and trade amongst the topics of conversation. No doubt there was a free and frank exchange of views - which is usually diplomatic language for 'a full on shouting match'.

Any exchanges would have been a tad more intense because of the PM's diplomatic blunder in India which caused a significant amount of muttering and some anger in Pakistan last week. The PM, during his India trip, did wonders for UK - Pakistan diplomatic relations, when he said elements in Pakistan should not be allowed to "promote the export of terror whether to India, whether to Afghanistan or to anywhere else in the world".

Now, the real issue was not so much what David ("Call me Dave") Cameron said, as where he said it that ruffled feathers in Islamabad. Had Dave said it in Islamabad or anywhere else he may have got away with it. It was saying it in India, which no doubt earned him a few points with New Delhi what really rubbed Islamabad up the wrong way. Most independent strategic analysts accept that elements in Pakistani military intelligence and within the army have been trying to play both ends against the middle over recent years in Afghanistan.

Oh to have been a fly on the wall!

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