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Negroponte to head to Pakistan

US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte will head to Pakistan this week to press for lifting of emergency in the country.

world Updated: Nov 14, 2007 11:00 IST

US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte will head to Pakistan this week to press for lifting of emergency in the country, with the Bush administration making it plain that President Pervez Musharraf's actions will have "consequences" in ties between the two allies.

"He (Negroponte) will be making the same kinds of point to the Pakistani officials he meets with that you've heard from the president, from the secretary and others," State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said.

"We want to see an end to the state of emergency, we want to see elections move forward as quickly as possible, we want to see those elections take place in an atmosphere that allows for free, fair and open competition," he said.

Negroponte, who is currently on a West African tour, will hold talks late this week with "a variety of senior Pakistani officials", Casey said, without revealing whether the diplomat will personally meet Musharraf.

Negroponte's visit will, however, not be concentrated on the political situation alone. He will also hold discussions on a variety of bilateral issues, including on counter- terrorism cooperation, economic reform and development issues, Casey said.

The deputy spokesman said Musharraf had received a "very clear message" from President George W Bush that there is a "change in how we view the government of Pakistan" since the imposition of emergency.

"It was a step backward for Pakistan's democratic transition and democratic process. And that is one that ultimately would carry consequences, will carry consequences, and does carry consequences for our relationship," Casey asserted.