- The Washington Times - Friday, August 17, 2001

Pakistani sanctions
Pakistan Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi urged the United States to treat Pakistan the same as India, after learning that Washington is considering lifting sanctions against its regional rival.
Miss Lodhi, addressing the Pakistani American Congress in Washington this week, warned against a "differentiated" approach toward the two South Asian nations.
The Bush administration, which is developing closer ties with India, is considering lifting the sanctions imposed on India after its 1998 nuclear tests. Sanctions were slapped on Pakistan when it conducted similar tests.
The State Department said this week that sanctions would remain against Pakistan until the return of a democratically elected government.
"Pakistan is still keen to work at the issues on which there is a difference of opinion between the two sides," Miss Lodhi said, referring to relations with the United States.
"Not always have the two countries seen eye to eye on every matter, but the important thing is their desire to narrow these differences and, where possible, reconcile them.
"There are many areas in which Pakistan and the United States share the same objectives. Pakistan wants to rebuild its relationship with the United States on a realistic basis and is ever mindful of the historic friendship that the two countries and their people have shared."
Miss Lodhi added that Pakistan is "aware of the changed environment" in Washington and wants its relationship with the United States to "reflect post-Cold War realities."
On Tuesday, Miss Lodhi read a message from Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who reiterated his promise to restore civilian government by October 2002.
Gen. Musharraf in 1999 overthrew what was widely seen as a corrupt, although elected, government and declared himself president in June. Washington imposed additional sanctions after the coup.
State Department spokesman Philip T. Reeker welcomed Gen. Musharraf's statement but said Washington wants more details about next year's elections, especially whether his plans include allowing political parties to run candidates.
The "restoration of democratic civilian rule is critical to Pakistan's political and economic development," he said.
"U.S. sanctions cannot be lifted until [President Bush] determines that a democratically elected government has taken office."
In her speech, Miss Lodhi also dismissed criticism of Gen. Musharraf's summit meeting last month with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, which ended in disagreement over Kashmir.
The summit was "inconclusive, but it did not fail," she said.
The two leaders covered "much common ground" that will provide a "valuable foundation" for another planned meeting, Miss Lodhi said.

Egyptian visitors
A top adviser to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is due to meet today with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.
Osama Baz, Mr. Mubarak's national security adviser, reiterated Arab anger over the rising violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
Mr. Baz is leading a high-level delegation that arrived in Washington on Tuesday. They have also met with lower-ranking officials this week.
"We've long valued Egypt's critical role with the parties, and we welcome this opportunity to consult on the situation," State Department spokesman Philip T. Reeker said Wednesday.

Supporting Indonesia
President Bush next month will offer his support for the new Indonesian government when he meets with President Megawati Sukarnoputri, the White House said this week.
Mr. Bush has invited Mrs. Megawati for a working visit on Sept. 19.
"The president looks forward to discussing with President Megawati how the United States can best support her efforts for political, economic and financial reform," the White House said.
Mrs. Megawati, the former vice president, assumed the presidency last month after parliament removed then-President Abdurrahman Wahid for incompetence.

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