US to cooperate with Mush and new Pak govt

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Washington, Feb 20: Despite the defeat of President Pervez Musharraf in Monday's parliamentary poll, the Bush Administration has said it would cooperate with both him and the new government that will assume office in Islamabad.

''We're going to look forward to working with President Musharraf, as well as the next Pakistani government which emerges from this election,'' State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack told newsmen yesterday. Asked about implications of the Pakistani election for Washington, he said he did not recall seeing the United States on the ballot.

McCormack, however, said the parties that gained in the election, including the Pakistan People's Party of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, had in one form or another expressed 'an abiding commitment' to combat extremism and terror. This consensus would be reflected in the policies of the upcoming coalition government, he said.

''What we will urge is that those moderate forces within Pakistani politics, who now have a seat at the table so to speak in winning seats in the parliament, should band together, should work together for a few goals that are in the interest of Pakistan- broaden and deepen Pakistan's economic and political reforms, remain committed to fighting violent extremists and terrorists in the region and on Pakistan soil,'' he said.

McCormack said this was in the long-term interests of Pakistan and its people.

He said the US had a 'deep national interest' in working with Pakistan in breaking up terrorist cells that operate from that country's remote, federally administered tribal areas of north and south Waziristan.


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