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Sunday, 23 September, 2001, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
US lifts India and Pakistan sanctions
Pakistan's ghauri missile
Nuclear proliferation is no longer a US prime concern
US President George W Bush has waived sanctions against India and Pakistan, introduced when the two countries conducted nuclear tests in 1998.

Mr Bush said in a White House memorandum that the sanctions were "not in the national security interests of the United States".

The move is being seen as a reward in particular for Pakistan, which has offered support for Washington's pursuit of Osama Bin Laden. The Saudi-born militant, based in Afghanistan, has been named as the chief suspect in the 11 September suicide attacks on New York and Washington.

Sanctions lifted
Weapons sales and licences
Government credits and financial aid
US support for multilateral financial aid
Other US sanctions linked to 1999 Pakistan coup remain in force
India, which is also supporting the US, has also been included to avoid resentment and accusations of one-sidedness, correspondents say.

Both countries have welcomed Mr Bush's announcement.

A Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman said the lifting of any sanctions would be a positive development.

BBC correspondent Stephen Cviic says the lifting of sanctions is the clearest example of how the rest of US foreign policy - in this case fears of nuclear proliferation - is being subordinated to the fight against terrorism.

US forces are continuing to mass in the Gulf and Indian Ocean for a possible strike against Afghanistan.

The ruling Taleban in Afghanistan have reiterated their refusal to hand over Bin Laden.

A Taleban spokesman, Abdul Hai Mutamaen, said the US demands "are not in favour of Muslims and Afghans and we are not ready to accept this".

One possible setback to US plans emerged when an unnamed Saudi official told Associated Press that his country would not allow the use of its bases for strikes.

In other developments:

  • Former US President Bill Clinton says that while in office he gave orders to arrest and if necessary kill Bin Laden
  • President Bush discusses the Afghan crisis by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin
  • Pakistan cancels the South Asian Games, which were due to be held in Islamabad from October 6 to 15
  • Afghanistan's exiled former king, Zahir Shah, says he is ready to return to "serve his people"
  • 13 British warships pass through Suez Canal, heading for military manoeuvres in Oman
  • Bill Clinton
    Clinton ordered Bin Laden's arrest
    The UN comes under intense pressure to resume wheat imports to famine-stricken Afghanistan
  • New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says New Yorkers should honour those who died in the World Trade Center by returning to their normal lives
  • Taleban officials say more than 100,000 people are being trained and armed to face possible attack
  • European finance ministers order an investigation into suspicious share-trading in the days before the attacks
  • The head of Israeli military intelligence, Major-General Amos Malka, says he sees no direct link between Iraq and the suicide attacks in the US.


US defence officials say more warplanes are being sent to bases or aircraft-carriers near Afghanistan, adding to the estimated 350 planes already in the region.

George Bush on phone to Russian president
Bush has been building a world coalition against terrorism
Five thousand extra air national guard and air force reservists have been called up, bringing the total number to 15,000.

And in a separate move, Mr Bush ordered the freezing of assets in the US of various people and groups suspected of terrorist links.

Meanwhile, the UK defence ministry has played down newspaper reports that crack SAS troops are already inside Afghanistan working with the anti-Taleban Northern Alliance.


Efforts to build a broad coalition of states willing to help fight terrorism are bearing fruit, with Turkey and other strategically important countries offering their help.

US officials said President Putin assured Mr Bush that Russia would co-operate in any US efforts against Bin Laden and would not oppose any similar help from ex-Soviet states in Central Asia.

The Russian military talks with the Afghan opposition Northern Alliance were also attended by several other countries opposed to the Taleban, including Iran, the BBC's Monica Whitlock reports from Tajikistan.

Washington received the strong support of European Union leaders on Friday, who agreed that targeted US retaliation for the attacks would be "legitimate".

The United Arab Emirates said on Saturday it had cut diplomatic ties with the Taleban, after failing to persuade them to hand over Bin Laden.

Only two countries - Pakistan and Saudi Arabia - still recognise the Taleban. Pakistan said it had no plans to follow the example of the UAE.

The BBC's Adam Mynott
"Today's sanction decision is aimed at winning the hearts and minds of Pakistani people"
The High Commissioner of Pakistan Abdel Kader Jaffer
says lifting the sanctions is crucial for his country
See also:

23 Sep 01 | Americas
Clinton ordered Bin Laden killing
22 Sep 01 | South Asia
Aid shortage adds to Afghan woes
23 Sep 01 | Middle East
Gulf states meet for crisis talks
22 Sep 01 | Middle East
UAE cuts ties with Taleban
20 Sep 01 | Europe
EU gears up to fight terrorism
19 Sep 01 | Europe
EU acts on terrorism
18 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
China demands US attack evidence
16 Sep 01 | Americas
US prepares for war
23 Sep 01 | Americas
Flight passengers hailed as heroes
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