Negroponte to visit Pakistan to convince Musharraf to restore democracy as soon as possibleNovember 14th, 2007 - 3:18 pm ICT by admin
Washington, Nov.14 (ANI): US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte will visit Pakistan this week to press the Musharraf regime to lift the state of emergency in the country.
“He (Negroponte) will be making the same kinds of point to the Pakistani officials he meets with that you’ve heard from the President, from the Secretary and others,” State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said.
“We want to see an end to the state of Emergency, we want to see elections move forward as quickly as possible, we want to see those elections take place in an atmosphere that allows for free, fair and open competition,” The News quoted Casey, as saying.
Negroponte, who is currently on a West African tour, will hold talks late this week with “a variety of senior Pakistani officials”, Casey said, without revealing whether the diplomat will personally meet Musharraf.
Negroponte’s visit will, however, not be concentrated on the political situation alone. He will also hold discussions on a variety of bilateral issues, including on counter- terrorism cooperation, economic reform and development issues, Casey said.
The Deputy Spokesman said Musharraf had received a “very clear message” from President George W Bush that there is a “change in how we view the government of Pakistan” since the imposition of emergency.
On former premier Benazir Bhutto’s statement that she will not serve with Musharraf in the government, Casey said it was for the Pakistanis to decide what kind of political formation they want and the US will not be involved in the issue.
“Clearly we want to see her be able to move freely and conduct her activities as she sees fit,” he said.
Casey said Musharraf has taken some “positive steps” towards steering Pakistan back into normalcy, but not enough for the US to “feel comfortable”. (ANI)
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