Bush to hold talks with Pakistan's President

The U.S. national security adviser said Tuesday that President George W. Bush plans to visit South Asia next year and hold talks with Pakistan's President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

"The president is very anxious to come to South Asia. He would be very anxious to meet with President Musharraf here in Pakistan," Stephen Hadley told reporters, according to a pool report.

Hadley said he discussed with Musharraf, Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri and other Pakistani officials "what can be done to deal with the issue of Taliban operating on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan."

"The activities of the Taliban in these areas threatens all of us," he said. "It threatens Afghanistan and the stability of Afghanistan, it threatens Pakistan and it threatens my country," he said.

Hadley earlier praised Pakistan for its role in helping Afghanistan hold peaceful elections and combating terrorism, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said.

The U.S. official had arrived here after visiting Afghanistan following of its historic Sept. 18 legislative elections, the AP reports.

Pakistan, a key ally of the United States in its war on terror in Afghanistan, was once a main supporter of former Taliban regime, but Musharraf switched sides after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S. and now backs President Hamid Karzai's government.

Although critics say Pakistan has not done enough to flush out remnants of Taliban and al-Qaida, Musharraf told Hadley that he was "committed to rooting out terrorism," according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

It said Hadley "reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to broadening and deepening its strategic relationship with Pakistan over the long term."

He praised Pakistan for helping Karzai by playing a role in "stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan, specifically mentioning how the elections took place relatively peacefully.

Hadley was on a two-day visit to Pakistan. At an earlier meeting with Kasuri, he "reiterated U.S. commitment to a long-term strategic relationship with Pakistan and expressed satisfaction at the level of cooperation achieved in various field between the two countries," according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

It said Kasuri told Hadley that a stable Afghanistan was in Pakistan's interests.


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