Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has praised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as "courageous" for ordering the withdrawal of Jewish settlements from Gaza.

He said the forcing of the Israelis out of Gaza was courageous and that he hopes for similar courage finally in the creation of the Palestinian state.

But he says he is no rush to follow up a recent diplomatic breakthrough by Pakistan and Israel and meet with Mr. Sharon at the United Nations this month.
In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press, General Musharraf says Islamabad's stance is clear.  It wants progress toward resolution of the Palestinian dispute. And, he said, he will review its stance as more progress is made.
General Musharraf's remarks follow a meeting of the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Israel in Turkey last week, the first formal high-level contact between the Islamic and Jewish states.

Some information for this story provided by AP.