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Obama, McCain welcome Musharraf's resignation

world Updated: Aug 19, 2008 08:15 IST

White House hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain have welcomed Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's resignation saying the decision would help end the political crisis in that country.

"Musharraf has made the right decision to step down as President of Pakistan. It is in the interests of the Pakistani people to end the political crisis that has immobilised the coalition government for too long," Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama said.

"I had advocated the US move from a 'Musharraf policy' to a 'Pakistan policy.' The opportunity created by Musharraf's exit must be utilised to focus on issues like terrorism, food and energy shortages and to help people there build a stable, secure and democratic future," the Illinois senator said.

Musharraf's decision to step down brings to an end a bitter confrontation between the presidency and the five-month-old PPP-led coalition government that has been gunning for him since its victory in February 18 elections.

"US policy must focus on assuring that all elements of Pakistan's government are resolute in shutting down the safe havens for al Qaeda and the Taliban. There can be no safe haven for terrorists who threaten the American people," Obama said in a statement.

His Republican rival John McCain too echoed similar views.

"The resignation of President Musharraf is a step toward moving Pakistan onto a more stable political footing. Pakistan is a critical theatre in countering the threat of al Qaeda and violent Islamic extremism, and I look forward to the government increasing its future cooperation (with the US)," McCain said.