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Rice: "There Is Evidence Of Involvement Somehow On Pakistani Soil" In Mumbai Attacks

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, just back from a visit to Indian and Pakistan, said "there is evidence of involvement somehow on Pakistani soil," in the recent Mumbai terrorist attacks, but said U.S. officials do not think the Pakistani government was involved in the incident.

In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Rice said "the government of Pakistan very much wants to do the right thing because they understand that even if these were non-state actors, which I believe they were, non-state actors operating on Pakistani soil, it is still Pakistan's responsibility to respond."

"The investigation is still ongoing," Rice added. "Pakistan needs to cooperate transparently. They've said that they will. Clearly there are organizations that operatives with longstandig involvement in this kind of activity [in Pakistan]."

Rice would not comment on whether the Bush administation, with only six weeks left in office, believes Pakistan should turn over anyone suspected of involvement in the attacks to Indian authorities. Indian officials have made that request.

"I think the important thing is that Pakistan has to act and these people are brought to justice, and that any information that they may have be put to use in making sure follow-on attacks don't happen," Rice said.  "There's not a timetable involved here.

"Rice noted that "Americans also died in that attack, and  that the United States expects the full and complete cooperation of Pakistan and Pakistani action" in finding and punished anyone linked to the Mumbai incident. Nearly 200 people were killed in the attacks, which paralyzed Indian's financial center for almost three days.

"I made very clear to the Pakistanis that we are a friend of Pakistan,  we are an ally of Pakistan, but when something like this happens, the United States expects Pakistan to act," Rice said.

Rice downplayed the chances of a military conflice between Indian and Pakistan over the incident, saying the "relationship is better" between the two countries than it has been in the past. Indian and Pakistan have fought three wars over the last 60 years, and tensions remain high within the nuclea-armed countries over the disputed Kasmir region.

Rice cautioned against "unilateral action" by India over the Mumbai attacks, but said she "didn't hear a lot of bellicose talk by Indian leaders or the Pakistani leaders. This is a relationship between India and Pakistan that has improved, and they're trying to build on that."

 

 

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