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November 6, 1999
Musharraf sends special envoy to US
Pakistani ruler General Pervez Musharraf has sent former foreign minister Yaqub Khan to Washington as a special envoy, officials said.
Yaqub Khan, a widely respected elder statesman, had talks with National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and will now meet Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering at the state department, they said.
The talks are at a higher level on the US side than any previous contacts with Pakistan since Musharraf seized power in a military coup on October 12, though the US ambassador in Islamabad, William Milam, has met Musharraf.
State department spokesman James Rubin has said that the US officials would tell Khan of the standard US conditions for normal business with Pakistan.
''We will make clear our view that we think that it is very important to have the constitutional, democratic and civilian government in Pakistan restored and that we are looking for a timetable for steps to that end to be described as soon as possible,'' he told his daily briefing.
A Pakistani official said Yaqub Khan would have talks on Monday with Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott.
Rubin said, ''I do know that he (Talbott) is determined to continue his efforts to try to promote progress on the non-proliferation front and all that that entails, as well as promote the prospect of dialogue between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.''
The spokesman said the United States wanted to talk with Pakistan about regional security, weapons proliferation, anti-narcotics operations and putting pressure on the Taliban in Afghanistan to hand over Saudi-born Osama bin Laden for trial on bombing charges.
''But with respect to business as usual, until there is a return to civilian democratic constitutional government, the relevant provision of the foreign assistance law (applies),'' he added. The law bans assistance to military coup leaders.
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