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British Foreign Secretary Backs Pakistan's Reentry Into Commonwealth


Britain Foreign Secretary David Miliband says he supports Pakistan's re-entry into the Commonwealth.

Following talks with President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani in Islamabad Monday, Miliband also praised the Pakistani government's democratic transition.

The Commonwealth suspended Pakistan's membership last year after President Musharraf declared a state of emergency. But in February elections, the Pakistan People's Party of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto defeated Mr. Musharraf's allies, and a new government took power.

The British foreign secretary is wrapping up a two-day visit to Pakistan. On Sunday he traveled to the volatile North West Frontier Province, where he met with local officials and Pakistanis who had been victims of terrorism.

Milliband said Britain backs the Pakistani government's offer to negotiate with militants who are willing to renounce violence.

He also said Britain is committed to a long-term partnership with Pakistan to help fight against extremism.

The 53 nation Commonwealth is made up mainly of Britain and its former colonies.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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