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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-323948 Pakistan Rumsfeld (L-O)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=04/14/05

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=PAKISTAN/RUMSFELD (L)

NUMBER=2-323948

BYLINE=BENJAMIN SAND

DATELINE=ISLAMABAD

CONTENT=

HEADLINE: Rumsfeld Extends U.S. Support for Pakistan's 'Legitimate' Defense Needs

INTRO: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has wrapped up a tour of South Asia with a pledge that the United States would help Pakistan meet its defense needs. As VOA's Benjamin Sand reports from Islamabad, Mr. Rumsfeld also had praise for Pakistan's role in the war on terror.

TEXT: Pakistani officials describe a warm meeting between Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and President Pervez Musharraf.

Jalil Abbas Jilani is the Foreign Ministry spokesman.

/// JILANI ACT ///

"Secretary Rumsfeld expressed appreciation for Pakistan's important role in promoting regional peace and the critical cooperation being extended by Pakistan in global war on terrorism."

/// END ACT ///

Few details of their meeting late Wednesday were available and U.S. authorities declined comment on the meeting. But an official Pakistani statement says Mr. Rumsfeld said Washington would increase support to help Pakistan meet its "legitimate" defense needs.

The statement also says Mr. Musharraf praised Washington's recent decision to allow the sale of F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan, saying it will enhance the nation's defense.

It is the first time Washington has agreed to ship jets to Pakistan since Islamabad tested a nuclear bomb in 1998.

Pakistan is a close U.S. ally in its war against terrorism and has received both economic and military assistance in return.

Mr. Rumsfeld is wrapping up a trip that started Tuesday in Iraq. On Wednesday he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and discussed regional security issues, including the long-term military relationship between the United States and Afghanistan.

The defense secretary left Pakistan for a trip to Kyrgyzstan, a key base of operations for the U.S. military. There he received assurances from the country's new government that U.S. forces could continue using facilities in the country. (SIGNED)

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