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Bush hails Musharraf's decision

US president hails Musharraf decision to lift emergency, saying he has taken positive steps.

world Updated: Nov 11, 2007 17:37 IST

After pushing Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf to announce elections, US President George W Bush has hailed the General, saying he has taken "positive steps" by promising to lift the state of emergency, step down as army chief and hold elections.

At the same time, Bush hoped that the Pakistani leadership will stick to its commitment to fight the Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
Bush on Saturday continued his administration's approach to the crisis by refusing to pointedly criticise Gen Pervez Musharraf. Bush dodged a question about whether Musharraf's moves, seen by many as an attempt to cling to power, are distracting from the battle against Al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

"I vowed to the American people to keep the pressure on them (Al-Qaeda). I fully understand we need cooperation to do so," Bush said at Crawford (Texas) after two days of meetings at his ranch with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. "One country we need cooperation from is Pakistan."

Maintaining that he still trusts Musharraf, Bush said the Pakistani leader aligned himself with Washington after the September 11 2001, attacks and has not given Bush reason for doubt since.

In fact, Bush said, several Al-Qaeda leaders have been brought to justice "and that wouldn't have happened without President Musharraf honouring his word."

"I take a person for his word until otherwise," Bush said. "He made a clear decision to be with us and he's acted on that advice."