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Bush: Musharraf's Terror Crackdown Could Ease Tensions - 2002-01-07


President Bush is urging Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to continue to take strong action against terrorism. Mr. Bush says tensions between Pakistan and India remain high, and Mr. Musharraf can do more to ease the pressure.

President Bush leaves no doubt he is pleased with the action Pervez Musharraf has taken so far. He says it is important for the Pakistani leader to show the world that he is willing to crack down on terror. "And I believe if he does that, and continues to do what he is doing, it will provide relief on a situation that is still serious," he said.

Mr. Bush says tensions remain high, but adds there is a way to prevent them from boiling over into all-out conflict. "I don't believe the situation is defused yet. But I do believe there is a way to do so," he said.

President Bush made the remarks during a session with reporters shortly after his return from a 12-day trip to his Texas ranch. During his stay in Texas, he got personally involved in efforts to ease the crisis in relations between India and Pakistan, calling the leaders of the two countries and making public statements urging both calm and action against terrorism.

Tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi escalated last month after an attack on the Indian parliament in which 14 people died. India has blamed two Kashmiri militant groups based in Pakistan for the assault.

In recent days, Pakistan has arrested a leader of one of those groups. And hours before President Bush spoke, Mr. Musharraf issued a public statement in which he rejected terrorism in all its forms.

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