President Bush's Upcoming Visit to Pakistan: Whats on the Agenda?

Daily Times, February 26, 2006
US president to push Pakistan on Kashmir ‘terrorist camps’

WASHINGTON: US President George W Bush said on Friday he would push President Pervez Musharraf during an upcoming visit to Islamabad to close “terrorist training camps”.

“On my trip to Pakistan, I will, of course, talk about the terrorist activities, the need to dismantle terrorist training camps and to protect innocent life,” Bush told Doordarshan state-run television of India, AFP reported. Bush leaves late on February 28 for India, and from there will travel to Pakistan for his first visit to both countries. In a separate interview to PTV, Bush said a democratic Pakistan can set an example for the Muslim world of a religious state that is not extremist.

“President Musharraf, in his democracy initiative, can show the whole Muslim world, and the world itself, that it’s possible to have a religious (state) that is not extreme,” Bush said in the interview, according to a transcript provided by news agency SANA. “And I will, of course, continue to talk to my buddy and my friend (Musharraf) about his goals for a democratic Pakistan.”

The US president said the aim of his visit was to reinforce his good relationship with Gen Musharraf and reach out to the people of Pakistan. “President Musharraf and I can set a tone for the relationship because of our capacity to talk to each other,” he said. “A good relationship between me and the president tends to permeate throughout our governments.”

“Secondly, I want the people of Pakistan to know that the American people care about them, that ours is a relationship that’s much bigger than just the war on terror; that when our Chinooks flew supplies into the rural part of Pakistan … it was out of a sense of care and concern about the individuals ... this (trip) will give me a chance to speak to the people of Pakistan and say, look, we care for you,” he said. Bush said Pakistan and the US could make their relationship more durable through trade and student exchanges. “And we’ll be talking about a bilateral investment treaty,” he added. He said anti-terror cooperation was crucial because Al Qaeda was a threat to Pakistan as well. “Nobody should want foreign fighters in their soil wreaking havoc. And it’s hard for a part of a country to develop if there are people in that part of the country that are willing to kill innocent life to achieve an objective.” Asked what role the US could play in resolving the Kashmir issue, Bush said he had already started to play a role when, in a recent speech to the Asia Society, he encouraged both sides to continue seeking a solution “acceptable to all sides”. “I will use my trip to urge the leadership to continue solving this issue, with the idea that it can be solved,” he said. agencies


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