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Will encourage dialogue with India, Pak tells US
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July 29, 2008 09:54 IST

Pakistan has said it will encourage the process of composite dialogue with India 'to reduce tensions and resolve all outstanding issues' between the two neighbouring countries.

In a joint statement issued at the end of formal talks between visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and United States President George W Bush [Images] on Monday, the two sides said that the Pakistan-India composite dialogue process will be encouraged "to reduce tensions, build trust, and resolve all outstanding issues".

The statement, however, had much to do with the bilateral relations with Bush reaffirming his support for Pakistan's sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.

"The two leaders agreed that the focus of the broad-based Pakistan-US relationship should remain on ensuring the well being of the people by assisting Pakistan to implement its national development agenda in a comprehensive manner," the statement said.

"President Bush and Prime Minister Gilani reaffirmed their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. They acknowledged that terrorism and violent extremism pose a common threat to Pakistan, the United States, and the international community," it said.

Bush assured Gilani that he would continue to work with Congress to ensure the continued US support to Pakistan over the long term. The bottom line is that Washington will provide $ 115.5 million in food security assistance to Pakistan, including $ 42.5 million over the next nine months.

"The two leaders agreed to strengthen the long-term security relationship with a view to enhancing Pakistan's defence capabilities, especially in the field of counter-terrorism, through training and equipment," the statement added.

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