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LEAD: U.S., Pakistan find common ground on counterterrorism: Negroponte.

ISLAMABAD, March 27 Kyodo


U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said Thursday after two days of talks with leaders of Pakistan's new government that there was ''common ground and a lot of understanding'' between the two sides on how to fight terrorism.

''I think there is common understanding that this is an issue which needs to be dealt with in a multifaceted way,'' he said.

Negroponte told a press conference in Karachi that the United States supports talks with any Islamic militants who are ready to reconcile but there can be no talks with irreconcilable ones.

''There are irreconcilable elements who want to destroy our way of life. I do not see how we can talk to them,'' he said.

Negroponte has met with President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani and leaders of the three main parties in the new coalition government since he flew into Islamabad on Tuesday.

The leaders of the new government have publicly announced they plan to hold talks with militants who are fighting the Pakistan army in tribal areas of the country near the border with Afghanistan.

Negroponte said he reaffirmed Washington's commitment to the new government in Pakistan. He also said the U.S. administration is looking forward to working with it on ways to reduce poverty and give a fillip to economic growth.

Since the terror attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, the United States has emerged as Pakistan's biggest donor and is providing $1 billion to $1.5 billion per annum in economic development and reimbursement of expenditure in the war against terrorism.

Negroponte said his visit had no hidden agenda and that the United States had no desire to interfere in Pakistan's internal political affairs.

Asked to comment on whether his visit was aimed at rescuing struggling President Pervez Musharraf, Negroponte said, ''he is of course president of the country and I met with him in that capacity.''

''This issue is something that will have to be addressed by internal Pakistani political process and we would certainly respect whatever is decided in that regard,'' he said.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Mar 31, 2008
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