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Pakistan, Indonesia Urge Support for Middle East Peace Plan

Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf is winning support from leaders of the Muslim world on a new plan for peace in the Middle East. Chad Bouchard reports from Jakarta, where Mr. Musharraf has been meeting with Indonesian leaders.

As sectarian violence escalates in the Middle East, Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf is calling for Arab and other majority Muslim nations such as Indonesia and Malaysia to help settle conflicts.

Indonesia has agreed to join the effort.

The new peace initiative aims to end fighting among Palestinians and to curb violence in Lebanon and Iraq.

General Musharraf has not announced details of the plan, but he told reporters outside the Indonesian presidential palace that western countries should welcome new strategies from the Muslim community.

"And since the West is looking and searching for methods and new ideas of bringing peace to the region, I think any new idea, any new initiative would be acceptable to them as long as it is workable, and as I said, it is credible and acceptable to all," Musharraf said.

General Musharraf stressed that non-Arab members of the world's largest group of Muslim nations, the Organization of Islamic Conference, could play a key role in renewed peace negotiations.

Indonesia is a secular country, but most of its 220 million citizens practice Islam.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he supported the plan, and agreed that peace talks in the Middle East should draw on like-minded leaders from the Muslim world.

"Indonesia is also facing the same challenge on how to maintain peace and harmony in this country, how to prevent and combat terrorism," Yudhoyono said. "I could see the similarities of our view in dealing with the acts of terrorism in our countries, Pakistan and Indonesia."

President Yudhoyono added that Indonesia plans to host an international gathering of Muslim clerics to discuss conflicts in the Middle East.

General Musharraf will also visit his counterpart in Malaysia as part of his tour to garner support for the Middle East peace initiative. He has discussed the plan with leaders from five Arab nations including Saudi Arabia and Egypt.