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October 15, 1999
US Cautious About Pak Emergency
The White House has reacted cautiously to the Pakistan army's declaration of a state of emergency, saying it was seeking more details about events in the South Asian country.
The army, which ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief in a bloodless coup on Tuesday, announced early today that it had suspended the constitution and National Assembly and had full control of the country.
''We are closely monitoring the situation, the apparent announcement of a state of emergency, and are seeking further information,'' said National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer.
The spokesman said US Ambassador to Pakistan, William Milam would return to Pakistan this morning and would meet with the country's military authorities.
''He will urge a quick return to civilian rule and will seek clarification of the implications of today's announcement,'' the spokesman added.
Separately, a US official said the Bill Clinton administration was not immediately condemning the army's latest moves because it was possible Pakistan may soon resume civilian government.
Earlier yesterday, President Bill Clinton said the United States had made its displeasure with the coup clear directly to the Pakistani authorities.
''We have been in touch with the Pakistanis. We don't like it when military leaders forcibly displace elected governments and we have made that clear,'' Clinton told a news conference, speaking before the state of emergency was declared.
''I would hope that the military government will soon transition to a civilian one and I would hope that nothing would be done at this time to aggravate tensions between India and Pakistan,'' Clinton added.
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