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US Urges Pakistani Follow-up on Mumbai

  • VOA News

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged Pakistan to follow through on pledges to cooperate with India in the Mumbai terrorist attacks investigation.

In televised interviews (with ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" and "Fox News Sunday") Rice said on Sunday that Pakistan has a responsibility to act even if the attacks were carried out by what she called "non-state actors."

Rice met last week with government officials in Pakistan and India in attempts to reduce tensions following the siege, in which more than 170 people were killed.

In a separate televised interview (on NBC's "Meet the Press") today, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama said every nation has the right to defend itself. But he declined to say whether India should strike at Pakistan in an effort to pursue militants accused of carrying out the Mumbai attacks. India blames a Pakistani-based militant group (Lashkar-e-Taiba) for the attacks.

In a related development, India's external affairs minister has denied phoning Pakistan's president at the height of the terrorist siege, a call that prompted Pakistan to put its air force on high alert.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjeeon Sunday said reports of the phone call are an attempt to divert blame for the attacks. Pakistani officials said President Asif Ali Zardari received a "threatening" call from a purported Indian official during the crisis. Pakistani media described the call as a hoax from someone pretending to be Mukherjee.

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