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Secretary Rice Offers ‘Deep Gratitude’ to Resigning Pakistani President

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2008 – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today offered “deep gratitude” to outgoing Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for his commitment in the war against terrorism and extremism.

Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup and became a close ally of the U.S. after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, announced his resignation as president today, according to news reports.

“President Musharraf made the critical choice to join the fight against al-Qaida, the Taliban, and other extremist groups that threaten the peace and security of Pakistan, its neighbors, and partners throughout the world,” Rice said in a statement. “For this, he has our deep gratitude.”

The U.S. will continue to work with the Pakistani government, Rice said. She urged the country’s political leaders to redouble their focus on Pakistan’s most urgent needs, including stemming the growth of extremism.

“The United States will help with these efforts to see Pakistan reach its goal of becoming a stable, prosperous, democratic, modern, Muslim nation,” she added.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman today said the United States enjoys good military-to- military and defense relationships with Pakistan.

“We work very closely with the military, particularly along the border region, and we would hope and expect that that would continue,” he said.

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