Bush tells Musharraf, take my advice: : End emergency!
* Rice asks Musharraf to take off uniform
* Gates says US reviewing aid to Pakistan
* State Dept warns Pakistan of change in ties
* US postpones defence cooperation talks after emergency
Daily Times, November 6, 2007
WASHINGTON: President George W Bush on Monday exhorted President Pervez Musharraf to hold elections and relinquish his army post “as soon as possible”.
“Our hope is that he will restore democracy as quickly as possible,” he said, reported AP.
However, the president made a point of praising Pakistan’s cooperation in the war on terror and seemed resigned that there is little concrete action he can take to influence Musharraf’s behavior.
‘Take off uniform’: Earlier, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on General Pervez Musharraf to stick to his word and “take off his uniform”. She sought to underscore US opposition to the emergency, a senior US official said. According to CNN, she had told reporters that it would be best for Pakistan to return to a constitutional path.
US reviewing aid: Defence Secretary Robert Gates, on a visit to China, called the events of the past few days in Pakistan “disturbing”. He said the US is reviewing its aid to Pakistan as a result of Musharraf’s actions but would be “mindful not to do anything that would undermine ongoing counter-terrorism efforts”.
US warns of change: Before President Bush’s comments, the US warned Musharraf that “our relationship will not remain the same” without democracy. After years of coaxing Islamabad back to democracy, “if we have now gone in a different direction, then our relationship will not remain the same,” State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters.
Talks postponed: The US has also postponed defence-cooperation talks with Islamabad because of the emergency, according to Reuters. The annual talks were earlier due to take place in Islamabad on November 6 and 7, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters. khalid hasan/agencies