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Rice Hails Pakistan as US Friend in War Against Terror
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The United States Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice Tuesday hailed Pakistan as a "friend" and a "fierce fighter" in the war against terrorism.

Rice, who called on Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf at Aiwan-e-Sadr, told media persons that she held "excellent discussions" on "broad and deep relationship" with Pakistan.

"The United States is a committed strong partner and a friend," she said at a joint press conference with Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri.

Her talks with Pakistan's top leadership, she added, covered ongoing counter-terror cooperation and reviewed progress on discussions for forging stronger cooperation in various fields including energy, education, science and technology and economic development.

Replying to a question, Rice said both Pakistan and Afghanistan are fighting terrorism in a region, which has been difficult for along time.

"We are trying to commit as strongly as we can to activities, which make it awfully impossible for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to operate on the border," she stated.

In response to another question, she said Washington is holding fruitful discussions to deal with Pakistan's growing energy requirements to support its economic growth.

Rice arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday.

Her visit to Pakistan is at a time when ties between Islamabad and Kabul have soured due to exchange of harsh statements and allegations as well as counter allegations.

The Afghan government alleged that Taliban insurgents had sanctuaries in Pakistan and that they were crossing into Afghan territory from Pakistan.

(Xinhua News Agency June 28, 2006)

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