Berlin, Jan 23 : US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that the Bush Administration would fight against the efforts to stop American aid to Pakistan, but also warned President Pervez Musharraf that he must support and promote democracy in his country.
"But I think the assistance is aimed at very important goals and that isn't going to change," said Rice, adding that those goals include training and equipping Pakistan's security forces to fight insurgents.
Praising Musharraf as a "good ally in the war on terrorism", Rice brushed aside his criticism. "No one has ever said that democracy is something that is born in a minute," she said.
"It does take time, but you have to get started and you have to start putting in place the institutions that will secure democratic values and that will allow people to exercise their rights to freedom," The News quoted Rice, as saying.
"The situation in Pakistan is very complicated, but our strong view is that we have to have a long-term, consistent, predictable relationship with Pakistan, not with any one person, but with the institutions of Pakistan," Rice said before her talks with Musharraf in Switzerland on Wednesday.
"We are all working very hard with the Pakistanis to try to ensure that the elections will be an opportunity for Pakistan to get back on the democratic path and an opportunity for Pakistanis to come together," The News quoted her as saying.
"That's very much on everybody's mind," she told reporters.