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Condi meets PM to discuss regional situation

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ISLAMABAD: The US Secretary of State Ms Condoleezza Rice called on Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani here on Thursday and the main focus of the meeting between the two leaders was on the evolving regional situation, in the aftermath of Mumbai terrorist attacks. The Prime Minister conveyed to Secretary Rice Pakistan’s firm commitment to combating terrorism with the full support of whole of Pakistan’s nation. The Prime Minister referred to the meeting of all the political and democratic forces of Pakistan on December 2, 2008 who had expressed their full support to the government’s efforts in this regard.

The Prime Minister emphasized that Pakistan had immediately condemned the Mumbai attacks in the strongest terms and had offered its full cooperation to the Indian government in investigation of those deplorable crimes. The Prime Minister also reiterated Pakistan’s determination not to allow its territory for any terrorist activity.

While dilating upon the Mumbai terrorist attacks, she noted that not only innocent Indians but nationals of other countries including the United States had been targeted and every country must support the Indian government to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice. She urged the government of Pakistan to provide unequivocal assistance to India. Pakistan should be seen acting sincerely and quickly, she emphasized. Pakistan should also take the necessary steps to prevent any non-state actors from indulging in such activities against any country from its soil, she added.

Secretary Rice assured the Prime Minister that her government would extend its full support to Pakistan for building capacity of its paramilitary forces to better prepare them for facing the challenges of extremism and terrorism.

The US Secretary of State noted with satisfaction that Pakistan and IMF had reached an agreement and that IMF had already released the first tranche of financial assistance. She informed the Prime Minister that the United States was working with other countries for arranging a donor conference for Pakistan, in early 2009.

US Ambassador to Pakistan, Ms. Anne W. Patterson and US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Mr. Richard Boucher accompanied the Secretary to State. Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Secretary Foreign Affairs and Secretary Defence also attended the meeting.-SANA

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