President Bush says the United States and Pakistan are together in the war against terrorism. Mr. Bush had his first face-to-face meeting with Pakistan's President Saturday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
President Bush says Pakistan is an important "front-line" state in the fight against terrorists based in neighboring Afghanistan, a fight that he says must be pursued until those terrorist are brought to justice.
"Our nations share an urgent mission, which is to stop and defeat terrorism wherever it may exist," said Mr. Bush. "That mission is not directed against those who practice Islam. The mission is directed against evil people. We discussed ways to accelerate our progress in Afghanistan against al-Qaida and the Taleban. We also discussed our humanitarian efforts to help Afghans through the winter."
Expanding the humanitarian component of the Afghan campaign has been a central theme in the president's meetings with allies over the past week. Speaking to the U.N. General Assembly Saturday, Mr. Bush said U.S. forces are doing everything they can to avoid civilian casualties in the bombing campaign and will work with other countries to rebuild Afghanistan once the government there falls.
President Bush says Pakistan's efforts against terrorism are benefiting the entire world and linking Pakistan more closely with the world, a process Mr. Bush says the United States wants to help by lifting sanctions against Pakistan's military government and backing international debt relief. President Bush says greater trade and investment opportunities, coupled with sound Pakistani economic policies, will put the country on a solid footing toward a return to civilian rule in elections planned for next year.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says he is determined to follow-through with his commitments to the international coalition against terrorism.
"Pakistan has taken a considered decision to be a part of the coalition to be with the United States to fight terrorism in all its forms wherever it exists," he said. "And let me also assure the President that Pakistan will remain committed to the fight against terrorism."
President Musharraf says he sees the dawn of a new era between Pakistan and the United States. Both leaders expressed their concern about the threat of the regional proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.
President Musharraf has called on the Bush Administration to stop Afghan bombing during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Administration officials say they want the fighting to stop as soon as possible but that can only happen once the mission is completed and terrorist and their sponsors are driven from power.