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Attacks originated from Pakistani soil, reiterates US

world Updated: Dec 10, 2008 09:16 IST
Arun Kumar
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Reiterating that Mumbai terror attacks originated from Pakistani soil, the United States has said its focus was on diplomacy to try to bring to justice those responsible and to prevent any further attacks.

Dismissing reports in Syrian newspapers blaming "Zionists or Israel or the United States" for the Mumbai attacks as "Dis-or misinformation", State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, on Tuesday said: "It's just not true. Just not true. We know who is responsible."

Asked to identify the attackers, he said: "Well,... I will say only, as the Secretary (of State Condoleeza Rice) has said, that the attacks originated from Pakistani soil."

Reacting to reports that Pakistan was not ready to hand over any suspect to India and was prepared to go to war in case New Delhi decided to attack Pakistani territory, McCormack stressed that the tone of Rice's meetings in both Pakistan and India was "very constructive."

"And everybody in all the meetings wanted to focus on a couple of things - making sure that those who were responsible for these attacks were brought to justice, and two; to do everything possible to prevent future attacks," he said.

Going by news reports about the steps that Pakistan has taken over the last couple of days, McCormack said: "As we understand them, these are good and important steps and could potentially serve the cause of preventing further attacks. Because that's the last thing that either side needs."

"I'm trying to shift you to the focus on the diplomacy here," he said when asked if the US would be ready to strike inside Pakistan to avoid India doing so. "And I think because that's really where the centre of gravity of the action is right now."

"These comments notwithstanding, the centre of gravity is really on the diplomacy and effective action to try to bring to justice those responsible and to prevent any further attacks," McCormack said.

"And I would note that the steps that have been reported that Pakistan has taken are important in that regard," he added.

On reported calls from many fronts that the US should now declare Pakistan a terrorist state, McCormack said: "The threat from violent extremists and terrorists is as great to Pakistan as it is to anybody else, to India, to the United States, to other countries around the globe and with interest in that region.

"So we know that the Pakistani Government - all elements of the Pakistani Government understand that," he said.

Asked if the Bush Administration was pursuing UN sanctions against former members of Pakistani intelligence allegedly connected to terror group Lashkar e-Taiba as reported by The Wall Street Journal, McCormack declined comment on any actions whether it's the UN or bilaterally that we might take in the financial area."

But he declined to deny such a possibility too saying, "I'm not going to steer you one way or the other" since "we don't talk about these kinds of things prior to doing them is you worry about asset flight."