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June 16, 2000
US administration differs with terrorism commission on Pakistan
The Clinton Administration has rejected the Congress-appointed National Commission on Terrorism's demand to identify Pakistan as a state 'not co-operating fully' with the United States in fighting international terrorism. The NCT suggested the names of Greece and Pakistan as candidates for the 'not co-operating fully' designation, under a 1996 law.
"At the moment, we do not believe that designating Pakistan as not co-operating fully is appropriate," state department's co-ordinator for counter-terrorism Michael Sheehan told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee which was conducting a hearing on the report Countering the Changing Threat of International Terrorism, recently released by the NCT.
The designation bans US arms sale to the offending country. It is a kind of 'half-way house' for states that have reduced support for terrorism, enough to justify some change in their status as state sponsors of terrorism, or for states that may be moving in the wrong direction. He said the administration shared the commission's view that Pakistan's record on terrorism remained mixed.
"Despite significant and material co-operation in some areas, particularly arrests and extradition, Pakistan has tolerated terrorists living and moving freely within its territory. But the areas of co-operation are real, and we are still in the game to make more progress," he added.
He said Pakistan was also a victim of terrorism and understood that this threat undermined its own security. "It is in our interest that they move in the right direction, and we want to use the right tools to help them to keep the pressure on terrorists," the state department official said.
Sheehan said, "we are looking hard at current developments and continue to be intensively engaged with Pakistan on improving co-operation, most recently with the President's and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering's travel to Pakistan to reinforce tough messages on terrorism and other key concerns. We have a lot more to do, but we see that our engagement is beginning to yield progress. If that changes, we, of course, would respond using the tool most appropriate to the situation."
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had bailed out Greece.
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