US to hold Pakistan to commitment on Mumbai terror probe

December 2nd, 2008 - 11:35 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 2 (IANS) The US has said it would hold Pakistan to its commitment of cooperating with the investigation of the Mumbai terror attacks but Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has no plans of going to Islamabad as of now.Nor is there any plan for Rice, who is reaching New Delhi Wednesday at the behest of President George W. Bush to show solidarity with India in the aftermath of the attacks, to go to Mumbai, State Department spokesperson Robert Wood said Monday.

Earlier, the White House said it would hold Pakistan to its commitment to cooperate with the investigation of Mumbai terror attacks though so far it had heard nothing to suggest that Pakistan’s government was involved.

“I’ve heard nothing that says that the Pakistani government was involved,” White House spokesperson Dana Perino told reporters even as the president was receiving an update on the attacks in the Situation Room.

Noting that Pakistani officials have pledged to work with the Indian government to find out who was behind the attack, she said: “We have been encouraged by the statements by the Pakistanis that they are committed to following this wherever it leads. We would expect nothing less of them on this instance.”

The US would hold Pakistan to its commitment to cooperate with the investigation, she added.

“I think that there has been suggestion since Wednesday evening that India - obviously making reference to a possible origin in Pakistan, and a concern by the Indians that the Pakistanis would let this go and not follow it through to its conclusion. But that is not what the Pakistanis have said, and we’re going to hold them to it.”

Rice is going to India not only to show solidarity in the wake of Mumbai attacks, but also to help stop the terror threat from expanding, Perino said.

Perino declined to comment on assertions by Indian investigators that the gunmen responsible for the attacks trained in Pakistan for months but she said that the US wanted to help reduce tensions between the two countries.

She also declined comment when asked whether Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) security agency could have played a role.

Rice spoke to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Bush’s National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley talked to his Pakistani counterpart and “both said they would continue to work with the Indian government to try to find out where this started”, Perino said.

Asked what was the motive for the Mumbai attack, Perino said: “The intelligence community is still assessing all aspects of attack - the motivation, the plotting and planning, and the operational details of it. So I don’t have anything that I can provide for you.”

“We stand with the people of India. We express our solidarity with them. That’s one of the reasons that President Bush wanted Secretary Rice to continue on in her travels to go to India,” she said.

Asked about escalation of tension between India and Pakistan, she said: “I don’t think that tensions are new; what is new is we have an attack.”

“One of the things that we can do is continue to try to help them solve their differences; we can help assist in the investigation; we can encourage Pakistan to cooperate, as they said that they would do,” Perino said.

“And Secretary Rice will travel to the region, and we hope that that will help, as well.”

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