Thursday, March 17, 2005

Pakistan model state for Muslim world: Rice

"Pakistan is a model country for the Muslim world," Rice said. In Washington, she had stated that she would push General Musharraf on "commitment to a democratic path" for his country. Rice also held a separate meeting with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and exchanged views on Pak-US relations, regional security and other important regional and international issues. Rice will fly to the Afghan capital Kabul early today and then return to Islamabad later the same day for over three-hour formal talks with her counterpart Khurshid Kasuri and other officials.

Although the hype about the sale of F-16s in Pakistan and India did not materialise yet the issue is still going to figure high in the meeting. "The issue of F-16s has become far more complex after the nuclear scandal while the United States is ready to discuss the same with the two countries. Pakistan would press Washington get more than 70-odd aircraft besides a total upgrade of its existing fleet," said well-placed source in Islamabad. According to him, the trade off for Islamabad was too big as the United States would sell Patriots to India if "we get the latest version of F-16s". Another well-placed official source told The News, "Significant part of the talks focus on the ‘Glide Path’ cooperation or next steps in strategic cooperation on the nuclear realm which out of uranium enrichment". US and India are already engaged in high-technology trade which is intended to build stronger economic ties to complement the strategic partnership between the two nations.


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