ID :
Wed, 08/20/2008 - 00:35
Auther :

Mush resignation will not lead to power vacuum in Pak: Rice

Washington, Aug 19 (PTI) Displaying faith in the democratically elected government of Pakistan, the US has rejected suggestions that the ouster of former President and key US ally Pervez Musharraf will a lead to a power vacuum inthe country.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said the situation in Pakistan is "fragile", but the government is democratically elected and will continue to receive USassistance.

"... obviously, it's a fragile situation in Pakistan because it's a new civilian government for the first time in a long time in Pakistan, since 1999, but it is an elected government. I think it has fabulous support. And that's a lotto build on," Rice said.

The top administration official was asked if the power vacuum following Musharraf's resignation means a slow descent into chaos in Pakistan and if Washington is concerned aboutit.

Asked if she believed there was no "real" leadership in Pakistan at the moment, Rice said, "I don't subscribe to the notion that there's no leadership in Pakistan. There's a democratically elected prime minister. There's a government that came into being as a coalition and it's had itsdifficulties internally".

Praising Pervez Musharraf's nine-year term as President of the country, Rice said he marked a shift from extremism forPakistan and helped in the nation's transition to democracy.

"President Musharraf took his country a long way, turning it back from the extremism that was starting to characterize it - at the time of 2001. He also kept his promise to try andhelp transition to free and fair elections," she added.

The top administration official of America also said she was unaware about whether Musharraf tried to get in touch withPresident George W Bush before deciding to step down.

"... he was not in touch with me. I am not aware that he was in touch with the US Government. But I can't vouch for that, given that I've been flying," Rice told reporters on herway to Brussels.

The Secretary of State also said that US would continueto provide assistance to the new government in Pakistan.

"... and we have a lot of work to do to support them economically, politically, and in security terms so that they can fight the terrorists and militants who threaten not only American interest, but threaten very much Pakistani interest, as shown by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto bymilitants," Rice said.

Expressing faith in the government's ability to take on terrorist elements in Pakistan, Rice, however, reiterated that the policy of negotiating with militants in the restivenorthwest areas is not yielding results.

"We believe that this government can succeed in taking onthese terrorists. We've talked about some of the strategies.

We think that the strategy of trying to negotiate in the FATA has not demonstrated results and we've been very clear about that. But it is a government that has been elected by the Pakistani people and we're going to do everything we can tostrengthen it and continue working with it," she added.