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Pakistan Welcomes End of US Nuclear Sanctions - 2001-09-23

Pakistan is welcoming the lifting of U.S. sanctions imposed on Pakistan and India after they conducted nuclear tests in 1998. A senior U.S. military delegation is expected to arrive in Pakistan soon to brief Pakistani officials on the military buildup in the region.

A statement from the Pakistani Foreign Ministry says the Bush administration decision to waive nuclear related sanctions is a positive development. It says the decision will help strengthen the mutually cooperative relationship between the two countries.

But the statement also says sanctions imposed after the military coup in 1999 remain in effect.

The White House announcement lifting sanctions came just days after Pakistan's President, General Pervez Musharraf, pledged his country's support to the U.S.-led effort to fight terrorism.

The Pakistani leader says the United States has asked to use Pakistan's airspace and for intelligence and logistical support in the military effort against alleged terrorist Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaida organization. The group is accused of carrying out the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed more than 6,000 people in the United States.

A high-level U.S. military delegation will hold talks this week with senior Pakistani leaders about how the U.S.-led military effort against alleged terrorist targets in Afghanistan is taking shape. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Riaz Mohammed Khan said Saturday that Pakistan supports the effort, but Islamabad wants to make sure military planners do not attack innocent civilians.

"The campaign is targeted on the perpetuators of the crime, against terrorism, against terrorists," stressed Mr. Khan. "Many leaders have emphasized that it be assured that innocent people do not suffer. The United Nations Secretary General has also said that there is a need to manage the campaign carefully so that while the evil of terrorism is eradicated, innocent people do not suffer, and that this campaign is not turned into an unintended unwanted conflict among many peoples."

The largest military buildup since the 1991 Gulf War is now underway in the region. U.S. officials say they welcome additional cooperation from Saudi Arabia and Turkey in the effort. Turkish officials say they will allow U.S. Air Force transport planes to use their airspace in the anti-terrorist effort.