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Bush Commends India, Pakistan for Steps Toward Peaceful Solutions - 2004-01-02

President Bush says India and Pakistan seem to be resolving their long-standing disputes slowly but surely. Mr. Bush also says he sees progress in Pakistan's efforts to control extremists.

President Bush says the leaders of Pakistan and India are taking steps toward a peaceful reconciliation of the issues that have divided them for years. He acknowledges the process is not easy or quick, but adds they appear to be moving slowly but surely in a positive direction.

The president spoke to reporters after a New Year's Day hunting trip with family and friends in southern Texas. He noted that India's prime minister is about to make his first trip to Pakistan in four years in order to attend a South Asia summit, and added he is hopeful the upcoming meetings will produce results.

Mr. Bush also talked about the recent assassination attempts on Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf. He said he has spoken to the Pakistani leader, and praised his help in the war on terrorism. He said progress is being made against al-Qaida terrorists because of Pakistani co-operation, although he noted more needs to be done along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.