US opposes new Pakistani gov't intended talks with fighters

A senior US official on Thursday opposed the new Pakistani government's intended talks with fighters.

US opposes new Pakistani gov't intended talks with fighters
"I don't see how you can talk to those kind of people," said US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, adding they want to destroy "our way of life."

Pakistan's new coalition government, headed by the slain Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party, has vowed to hold talks with the fighters while emphasizing a "comprehensive strategy" in dealing with growing conflict in tribal areas along Afghanistan border.

This could be a departure from the hard-handed policies of President Pervez Musharraf, a key US ally in the war, and reportedly the reason for the visit of Negroponte and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher.

The two officials reportedly tried to convince the new government and the coalition partners, including Musharraf's bitter rival and ex-premier Nawaz Sharif, to continue Islamabad's current policies on US war.

But many in Pakistan view the visit as counterproductive as many see it as American interference.

"The White House and its team must now restrain themselves in further meddling in Pakistan's affairs. The people of Pakistan and their elected representatives must now be left alone to chalk out a brighter future for every one in the country," wrote the liberal English-language newspaper The News.

Another English-newspaper, Dawn, said in an editorial that people had to "suffer the wrath of the militants who identify the (Pakistani) state with the Americans. A discrete stance on the part of US might prove to be slightly more helpful."

Negroponte refuted the impression and said the visit was planned many weeks ago. "There was no hidden agenda, and certainly, no desire to interfere or intervene in any way in the political arrangements that have started to develop," he said.

Agencies

Last Mod: 28 Mart 2008, 07:58
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