Bin Laden Not In my Country, Pakistan PM Tells Gordon Brown

Pakistan's PM Yousuf Raza Gilani has told Gordon Brown he does not think Osama Bin Laden is in his country.

Speaking after talks with the UK prime minister, Mr Gilani said the US had provided no "actionable" intelligence on the al-Qaeda leader's whereabouts.

Mr Brown hailed Pakistan's anti-terror efforts and pledged more support to help stabilise its border regions.

But the UK prime minister did not repeat his weekend call for Pakistan to do more to track down Bin Laden.

Questioned about these comments at a Downing Street news conference, Mr Brown hailed Pakistan's efforts to "disrupt the activities of al-Qaeda" in its South Waziristan region and vowed to continue sharing intelligence with "our allies".

Mr Gilani praised America's cooperation with Pakistan on security issues but he said Pakistan had yet to be given any "credible or actionable information" by the US on Bin Laden.

'More clarity'

He added: "I doubt the information which you are giving is correct because I don't think Osama Bin Laden is in Pakistan."

The Pakistan prime minister also said he wanted "more clarity" from the Americans on US President Barack Obama's new Afghanistan war strategy before his country could take action on it.

He said President Obama had discussed plans to send 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan with Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari but added that Pakistan was still seeking more details.

He said: "Regarding the new policy, we are carefully examining it. We have already issued a statement through the foreign office and we are looking into how we will be able to implement it and we need more clarity on it as well."

Mr Gilani praised Britain's record of cooperation with Pakistan and said Mr Brown had agreed in their talks to press for "early commencement of free trade negotiations with the European Union".

'Work together'

Mr Brown began the Downing Street press conference by praising Pakistan's efforts to counter the Taliban and acknowledged the "huge sacrifices" made by the country in fighting extremism.

He stressed Britain's support for the battle against militants in its border regions, telling Mr Gilani: "This is your fight but it is also Britain's fight."

He said aid being provided by Britain would go into reconstruction, education and the relocation of people displaced by fighting in Pakistan's turbulent border regions with Afghanistan.

He then pledged £50m to help Pakistan achieve the "long-term stabilisation" of the border region: "The international community expects much of Pakistan... What we've all got to do is work together (and) step up our efforts."

Mr Brown said last weekend that questions must be asked about why nobody has been able to "spot or detain" either al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden or his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri in the eight years since the September 11 attacks in the US.

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