WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican Rudy Giuliani said Thursday the main U.S. goal in Pakistan – a country in crisis following the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto – should be stability right now, not democracy.
“America should be there to help Pakistan achieve the following objectives… first of all immediate stability, as best as can happen, and finding the people that did this,” the former New York City mayor told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, adding later that “there are very difficult choices, but the objective has to be stability in Pakistan first, and then right back on track towards democracy as soon as possible.”
Giuliani, who has made the war on terror a central theme of his campaign, declined to express confidence in Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who has come under criticism from presidential candidates for his failure to fully deal with Islamic extremists within his country’s borders.
“Well he said the right words today, but we have to carefully look at this,” he told Blitzer. “Our objective here is no one person, our objective here is a stable Pakistan that will move toward democracy. And the big objective - and I’m speaking from the outside, not the inside, so people on the inside might have a slightly different view of this - you have to establish trust between the civilian leadership and the military, because hopefully they will stand against the efforts of the terrorists to destabilize Pakistan.”
–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand