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After brickbats, Pervez gets pat from Bush

Bush has hailed Pak President as a good fellow who understands the importance of moderation for a hopeful future.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 15:06 IST

Ahead of his Pakistan visit, US President George W Bush has hailed Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf as a "good fellow".

Bush said Musharraf understands the importance of moderation for a "hopeful" future.

"I will be seeing President Musharraf, who I like ..He's a good fellow, who understands that moderation is an important part of a hopeful future. So we'll support governments that practice moderation," Bush said in Florida on Friday.

The statement from the US President comes a day after the Bush administration told the Pakistan authorities to close down terror camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia designate Richard Boucher had also said that President Musharraf should change the course of his country as he had decided following 9/11 attacks on US.

The US President said there was need to work with the moderate Muslim nations so as to improve understanding and perceptions.

He was replying to question on how the next generation of Americans could be better prepared to deal with challenges from the Islamic world.

"First is to support and work with moderate governments, and there are a lot. The largest Muslim nation is Indonesia. And we're working closely with the President there to help promote a better understanding of different religions.

"Secondly, provide assistance when assistance is needed... We've got to reject isolationism. Isolationism is the tendency for a nation to withdraw and not feel an obligation to be involved in the world.

Bush said US could not defend itself if it was "isolationist...And therefore, when we see suffering in places like Pakistan, or because of the tsunami, the United States of America leading the way. "

Apart from US backing to moderation and help in necessities like earthquake and tsunami, Bush also pointed to the American involvement in preventing HIV/AIDS in the Muslim countries of Africa, which he termed as a "fantastic initiative."

First Published: Feb 18, 2006 09:47 IST