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Pakistan Envoy Nominee Testifies at Senate Confirmation Hearing - 2004-09-29

President Bush's nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to Pakistan is pledging that if confirmed, he will work with Islamabad to enhance that government's cooperation in the war on terrorism.

At a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday, Ryan Crocker said if he wins Senate confirmation to be ambassador to Pakistan, his top priority would be bolstering Pakistani support for anti-terrorism efforts. "If I am confirmed, an overarching goal will be to protect the security of all Americans by enhancing Pakistan's cooperation in the war on terror," he said.

Ambassador Crocker, a senior foreign service officer who currently serves as international affairs adviser at the National War College, praised Pakistan's recent crackdown on suspected Islamic militants.

He welcomed Islamabad's efforts toward curbing nuclear proliferation, and added that they must continue.

He also praised talks between Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last Friday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. The two leaders promised to work together to "restore normalcy and cooperation" and seek peace in the disputed region of Kashmir.

The Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Senator Richard Lugar, also took note of the meeting. "Last Friday's ground-breaking meeting between President Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Singh provides hope that both sides will take risks for peace and find common ground on issues that divide them, including the conflict over Kashmir," he said.

Pakistan and India fought three wars since independence in 1947, two of them over Kashmir.

Ambassador Crocker, whom Mr. Bush nominated to the Pakistan post earlier this month, has also served as director of governance for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and deputy assistant secretary of state in the bureau of near Eastern affairs.

Earlier in his career, he served as ambassador to Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon.