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Friday, 4 February, 2000, 17:52 GMT
Pakistan: No preconditions for Clinton visit

Pakistan would welcome a visit by President Clinton


By Zaffar Abbas in Islamabad

Pakistan's foreign minister, Abdul Sattar, has said Islamabad would be pleased if US President Bill Clinton visits Pakistan during his tour of South-Asia, but was not prepared to discuss any preconditions with Washington over this.

Earlier this week, Washington had announced President Clinton's visit to India and Bangladesh in March.

Pakistan in crisis
But it indicated that US concerns about Pakistan's lack of democratic credentials and its inability to contain terrorism may come in the way of the president's visit.

Mr Sattar said Pakistan was aware of US concerns about democracy, terrorism and non-proliferation.

Similarly, he said, Pakistan also had serious reservations over some of the decisions taken by the US administration and Congress, especially regarding the imposition of sanctions.

'Substantive relationship'

Mr Sattar said these issues were discussed and debated in an on-going process of dialogue between the two sides.


US delegations have been visiting Pakistan
The present Pakistani administration, he said, had its own view on issues like democracy and terrorism, and, according to its plan, was moving in the right direction.

He said these, or any other issues, should not be presented as the preconditions for president Clinton's visit to Pakistan.

He said because of the several years of highly-cordial and substantive relationship between the two countries, people in Pakistan thought that the US president would like to visit their country.

There was still no final word on the president's tour of South-Asia and the foreign minister said if Mr Clinton decided to visit Pakistan, Islamabad would welcome the decision.

Otherwise, he said, it would be regrettable.

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See also:
03 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Pakistan urges Clinton visit
01 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Clinton to visit India
13 Oct 99 |  South Asia
US calls for democracy in Pakistan
13 Jan 00 |  South Asia
Pakistan pressed on democracy
12 Aug 99 |  South Asia
US calls for India-Pakistan talks
19 Oct 99 |  South Asia
Analysis: Can the army deliver?
11 Nov 99 |  South Asia
Pakistan's coup: The 17-hour victory

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