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Musharraf, Bush reaffirm friendship

By Suman Guha Mozumder at the United Nations
September 22, 2004 21:57 IST
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US President George W Bush and his Pakistani counterpart Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen their bilateral relationship, in keeping with the vision agreed to in their June 2003 meeting at Camp David.

According to a joint statement released after Musharraf's hour-long meeting with Bush at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, the two reviewed the progress in the war on terror and pledged to continue to work together.

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Bush also expressed his appreciation for Pakistan's war against terror and emphasised the US's commitment to Pakistan as well as the region.

The two welcomed the progress of the joint working group on terrorism and law enforcement and agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in that area.

The US has consistently reaffirmed its faith in Pakistan as a frontline ally in the war on terror and earlier this year designated it a major non-NATO ally.

During the meeting, Musharraf highlighted the need for addressing the underlying causes that have given rise to "disaffection and frustration" in the Islamic world. He recalled his concept of 'enlightened moderation' that envisages cooperation between the US and other world powers in finding solutions to longstanding issues affecting the Muslim world.

Among other issues that figured in the talks was the importance of building security and prosperity in South Asia. The two also noted the urgency of maintaining a safe environment for fair elections in Afghanistan.

Bush noted the economic progress that Pakistan has made in recent years and reaffirmed US support for Pakistan's efforts to sustain reform and growth.

He also reiterated the US administration's pledge of $3bn over a five-year period to help in important areas such as security and the social sector.

In return, Musharraf expressed appreciation of US support of Pakistan's social sector, economic development and poverty reduction programs. They two heads of state also expressed their commitment to further expand bilateral trade and investment.

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Suman Guha Mozumder at the United Nations