`Cancer of terrorism threat to Pak`
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Last Updated: Thursday, May 13, 2010, 10:01
  
Washington: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday said that Pakistan has realised that it is not India but the "cancer" of terrorism emanating from its own territory that is its primary concern as extremists pose a serious threat to the sovereignty of that country.

"I think there has been in the past a view on the part of Pakistan that their primary rival, India, was their only concern," Obama said at a joint press availability with the visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

"I think what you've seen over the last several months is a growing recognition that they have a cancer in their midst; that the extremist organisations that have been allowed to congregate and use as a base the frontier areas to then go into Afghanistan -- that now threatens Pakistan's sovereignty," Obama said in response to a question.

Our goal is to break down some of the old suspicions and the old bad habits and continue to work with the Pakistani government to see their interest in a stable Afghanistan which is free from foreign meddling, he said.

Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States, the international community should all be working to reduce the influence of extremists in those regions, Obama added.

Obama said "I am actually encouraged by what I've seen from the Pakistani government over the last several months.

But just as it's going to take some time for Afghanistan's economy, for example, to fully recover from 30 years of war, it's going to take some time for Pakistan, even where there is a will, to find a way in order to effectively deal with these extremists in areas that are fairly loosely governed from Islamabad."

Obama praised the recent steps taken by Pakistan against extremist elements inside the country.

"You know, part of what I've been encouraged by is Pakistan's willingness to start asserting more control over some of these areas, but it's not going to happen overnight.

And, you know, they have been taking enormous casualties, the Pakistani military has been going in fairly aggressively, but this will be an ongoing project," he said.

Referring to the 45-minute meeting he had at the Oval office with Karzai Obama said the two leaders discussed the fact that the only way ultimately that Pakistan is secure is if Afghanistan is secure.

"The only way that Afghanistan is secure is if the sovereignty, the territorial integrity, the Afghan constitution, the Afghan people are respected by their neighbours," he said.

"We think that that message is starting to get through, but it's one that we have to continue to promote," Obama said.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, May 13, 2010, 10:01


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