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Clinton: Publication of Cartoons was Mistake, Urges Peaceful Protests


Former U.S. President Bill Clinton says that publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad was a mistake, but that violent protests by Muslims have wasted a chance to build bridges with the West.

Clinton was speaking in Pakistan, the scene of some of the worst rallies against the drawings, where he was visiting survivors of last year's South Asian earthquake and launching an HIV/AIDS project.

He said he strongly disagrees with the publication of the cartoons, considered blasphemous by Muslims, and has no objection to the Muslim protests if they are peaceful. But he said by holding violent demonstrations that have killed 18 people, Muslims have missed an opportunity to build better ties with the West.

Clinton arrived in Islamabad early Friday for a day-long trip and held talks with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.