Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said here on Wednesday it was “the failure of intelligence in the world, not just in Pakistan but in the United States as well” in not locating slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden so far.

Mr. Gilani made the remarks when asked by reporters to explain the presence of Osama in Pakistan territory and that too for several years.

After a meeting with French business leaders, Mr. Gilani said Pakistan needed world help to combat its “number one problem,” that of terrorism.

Negative messages

He asked the West to refrain from sending out “negative messages” against his country.

“International security and the fight against terrorism are not the task of a single nation. We need a global strategy to fight terror and we need the support of the whole world.”

Lack of clarity

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, in remarks just hours before Mr. Gilani's arrival, said: “In our eyes, the Pakistani position lacks clarity and I hope we shall have more clarity as a result of this visit. It is a little difficult to imagine that the presence of a person like bin Laden in a compound in a relatively small town could go unnoticed. It's a subject that calls for questioning.”

However, Mr. Juppe later softened his stand, saying he raised the issue with Mr. Gilani over dinner.

“The reply was that it was a failure of the Pakistani intelligence services, which they have addressed. I hope this will be a turning point in the right direction. The Pakistani Prime Minister assured me of his will to cooperate,” Mr. Juppe told news channel France 24.