US says Bhutto's release from house "positive"

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WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (Reuters) The United States welcomed as a ''positive step'' Pakistan's decision to release opposition politician Benazir Bhutto from house arrest and called for restrictions to be lifted on others.

''If it is true, then that is positive. Not only does she need to have her house arrest lifted but so do others who are important participants in Pakistan's political future,'' said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack yesterday.

''Other steps need to be taken too, including the lifting of the state of emergency,'' McCormack told Reuters. Later this week, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte is set to go to Pakistan where he will meet its leaders and call for an end to the emergency.

Reuters RC VP0432

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