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Musharraf an essential ally in war on terror: US

February 08, 2007 09:49 IST

The Bush administration has said that it considers Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf as an "absolutely essential ally" in the war on terror and it would continue to work with him.

The effusive response came from White House spokesman Tony Snow when asked if President George W Bush has been frustrated with General Musharraf in the ongoing war on terror and if he still has faith and trust in the Pakistani leader.

"President Musharraf is an absolutely essential ally in the war on terror. He has, himself, been the object of a number of assassination plots. And he is somebody who is serious about helping, and has been a considerable help, and we continue to work with him," Snow remarked at his press briefing.

"As we've said before, also, when it comes to cross-border incursions, people making their way into Afghanistan, it's very important to deal with it. And I believe he's had some public announcements this week about his determination to try to foil that. So I think it would simply be misstating the facts to say he hasn't been active. He's been very active," Snow added.

Meanwhile at the State Department, the spokesman there maintained that the administration is still trying to figure out what General Musharraf is trying to do in his recent visits to some Arab and non-Arab countries in the Middle East as it
pertains to some "tough" international issues such as the Arab-Israeli question and in addressing the Sunni-Shia divide.

"As I understand it, President Musharraf has made some recent trips around the globe to Arab Muslim states and some non-Arab Muslim states to talk about a couple of different issues. One, how they can band together to address the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and two, also how to, in some way, address the divide within the Muslim community between Sunni and Shia," Spokesman Sean McCormack said.

"And at this point, I'd say that we want to learn more about the details of their initiative. As a general comment, any initiatives by responsible parties such as Pakistan or Indonesia or Egypt or Turkey in trying to tackle some of these tough issues in a responsible way are welcome. But I'm going to defer any specific comment until we have a better understanding of what it is that is being proposed. As I understand it now, it's still taking shape," he added.

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