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Cablegate: Pakistan: Miliband's "Positive" November 25 Visit

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 002968

SIPDIS
NOFORN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/28/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER IN PK UK
SUBJECT: PAKISTAN: MILIBAND'S "POSITIVE" NOVEMBER 25 VISIT

REF: LONDON 2961

Classified By: PolMinCons Greg Berry, reasons 1.4 (b/d).

1. (C) Summary. UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband had a "positive" November 25 trip to Pakistan, FCO Pakistan Team Leader Laura Hickey told us November 28. The two main objectives of the trip were outreach on counter radicalization efforts and support for the Government of Pakistan's (GOP) ownership in the fight against extremism and restoration of economic stability. The GOP said it was concerned about reported USG missile strikes, and Miliband pushed back. He said that while he understood that such activity may be perceived as de-legitimizing the GOP, the GOP needs to make greater efforts to counter the extremist threat operating within its borders. Miliband also concluded (before the November 26 Mumbai bombing) that it was the time to get a deal on Kashmir. Pakistani President Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Singh were ready, and there was a deal on paper. Hickey said Miliband thought Pakistani military chief Kayani was the one "reluctant" about the deal and needed to be persuaded. Pakistani expectations for the proposed mid-December donor conference are high (reftel). End summary.

Miliband in Islamabad and UK Outreach Efforts ---------------------------------------------

2. (C) During his November 25 visit to Pakistan, UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband met with President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, Foreign Minister Qureshi, Chief of Army Staff General Kayani, Pakistani Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif, and did several outreach events, FCO Pakistan Team Leader Laura Hickey told us November 28. The main objectives of the visit were outreach on counter radicalization efforts and support for the GOP's ownership in the fight against extremism and restoration of economic stability. Miliband traveled with several British-Pakistani Muslim leaders, who did outreach events focused on life as a Muslim in the UK, respect for minorities, widespread tolerance, and freedom to practice religion in the UK. Hickey said Miliband was "pleased" with the positive impact and media attention generated by the counter-radicalization outreach events.

Pushing Back On Reported USG Strikes
------------------------------------

3. (C) Hickey said the GOP raised its concern about reported USG missile strikes in several of Miliband's meetings. Miliband pushed back, saying that while he understood such strikes could be seen as de-legitimizing for the GOP, the GOP's public response has not been helpful either. The GOP needs to make greater efforts to counter the extremist threat within its borders. According to Hickey, the underlying tone of his message was that if the GOP took action, then the USG would not have to.

India-Pakistan Relations
------------------------

4. (C) Hickey said Milband concluded during his trip that it was time to get a deal done on Kashmir. Zardari and Singh were ready, and there was a text on paper. Miliband thought the remaining obstacle was Pakistani military chief staff general Kayani; he remained "reluctant" and needed to be persuaded.

The Donor Conference
--------------------

5. (C) Pakistani expectations for the proposed donor conference are high (reftel), and the GOP was hoping for substantial new support.

Comment
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6. (C/NF) Hickey said following his trip, Miliband was resolved to put energy behind an Indian-Pakistan deal on Kashmir. She thought the November 26 Mumbai bombings would LONDON 00002968 002 OF 002 likely strengthen his resolve. HMG is nervous, however, that over-reaction on either government's part could result in a hardening of positions over or military action in Kashmir, once again derailing any progress. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX
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