US will deal with new government in Pakistan

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New Delhi, Feb 20 (UNI) The United States today hailed the people of Pakistan for rejecting terrorism and voting for change, and said it would deal with whoever came to power in that country.

It also said that President Pervez Musharraf's loss in yesterday's elections would not mean loss of support either to him or the US in their fight against terror.

Three US Senators -- Joseph R Biden (Democrat), who is Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry (Democrat) and Chuch Hagel (Republican) -- told a news conference here that the Pakistani people had rejected terrorism and voted for change.

The three Senators, who ''witnessed'' the elections in Pakistan and met President Musharraf, PML (N) chief Nawaz Sharif and other leaders, said the people in that country had come out to vote and ratified democracy, rejecting religious parties.

''This is a critical moment for Pakistan, India and the entire region. What Pakistan does in the next few days, will determine the future situation.'' Senator Biden said he was of the opinion that there was the need for a Pakistan policy and not regarding a personality.

''There was the need to understand Pakistan's primary concern which is terrorism,'' he said and also stressed the need for increased economic assistance to Pakistan against terrorism.

Senator Kerry said: ''I do not believe that President Musharraf's loss should be a loss of support in dealing with common concerns - handling jehadis, al Qaida and the Taliban.'' He said they would continue to deal with the next government, which would most likely be a coalition, as their relations were based on common interest.

''I look forward to dealing with whoever is in power in Pakistan.

The important thing is that there was transition of power peacefully.'' UNI RB RP RN1903

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