November 10th, 2007
02:03 PM ET
10 years ago

Bush: Musharraf assurances are 'positive steps'

President Bush has called on the Pakistani president to lift an emergency decree.

CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) - President Bush on Saturday called for Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to lift an emergency decree that has plunged the nation into chaos, while noting that pledges by Musharraf to step down as army chief and hold elections next year are "positive steps."

Bush, speaking at his ranch in Crawford, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at his side, told reporters he has not spoken to the Pakistani leader since earlier this week. But "he knows my position, and he knows the position of the U.S. government," he said. "Our message is consistent and clear."

The United States and Pakistan share a common goal in their efforts to eradicate al Qaeda, Bush said. But he said he is concerned about Pakistan straying from the path of democracy. Holding scheduled elections will ensure the nation stays on that path, the president added.

The office of Pakistani Attorney General Malik Mohammed Qayyum told CNN on Saturday that the emergency declaration will be lifted within one month, but would not say when a formal announcement might come.

Bush said he believes lifting the declaration would "make it easier for democracy to flourish."

But he continued to stand behind Musharraf, saying, "I take a person at their word until otherwise" and that he deserves time to keep his promises.

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Musharraf decided to stand with the United States against extremism after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Bush said, and has been instrumental in bringing several al Qaeda leaders to justice.

He and Merkel said they had discussed a variety of subjects, including Iran, the Middle East, trade negotiations and climate change.

The threat posed by a potential nuclear program in Iran is "a serious one," Merkel said. But she said she and Bush agreed the Iranian issue can be solved through diplomatic means. The next step, she said, will be a U.N. Security Council resolution, and work is under way to prepare for that.

If talks with Iranian representatives and Javier Solana, foreign policy chief for the European Union, are unsuccessful, Merkel said, "further steps will have to be made." Those might include further sanctions, she said.

Germany has reviewed its business ties with Iran, and may make further reductions in those if circumstances warrant, she said.

"What the Iranian regime must understand is, we will continue to work together to solve this problem diplomatically, which means they will continue to be isolated," Bush said.

"What the Iranian people must understand is, we respect their heritage, we respect their traditions, we respect their potential. It's their government that has made the decisions that are denying them a bright future."

Asked what will be done if diplomatic efforts are exhausted, Bush told a reporter he "didn't feel comfortable" answering a "hypothetical."

However, Merkel said, "I'm deeply convinced diplomatic possibilities have not yet been exhausted. We can solve this by using diplomatic means, and also we want to solve this by diplomatic means."

Both leaders said any Security Council action will require the support of China and Russia.

Bush said the two also discussed reforming the U.N. Security Council, an issue he acknowledged he has been "studiously noncommittal" on. The United States believes Japan should have a seat on the council, he said, and other than that, "we're for U.N. Security Council reforms, and I'm willing to listen to good ideas. Angela brought up some good ideas today."

For her part, Merkel pledged, "we're going to continue to work towards reform."

Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. mT

    Positive steps?!?! Thanks to this administration, the U.S. supported puppet dictator and government in Pakistan is about to collapse – letting loose an actual nuclear arsenel to whomever wins the regional power grab (as opposed to Iraq and Iran's non-existant nukes).

    November 10, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Karen,ny

    Who does that little dwarf think he's talking to. We have no right to tell any country to do anything. I say we still have time to impeach the dwarf. Act Congress, act!

    November 10, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. E. Elliott, Orlando. FL

    This is the same idiot that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis for his oil company cronies and nearly 400 AMerican troops with about 20,000 seriously wounded. After his WMD lie was exposed, the next trick was to calim Iraq war is to bring Democracy. But he sells out the Conctitution here at home and his Hom boy in Packistan does the same. I am afraid that Chaney will bomb, via the goons the GOP hires, the Congress just before the election next year. And Mr. government by arranged crisis Bush will suspend the Constitution under Martial law. His buddy the dictator has just shown him how. Odd how he hates Castro and Chazev, must be his team cannot make any money there.

    November 10, 2007 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |

    Bush's statement saturday leads one to ask 'Who's more trustworthy, Bush or Musharraf'. Actually I wouldn't trust either of the two with my life. Bush has entwined his pelvis to that of Pervez, hoping that Musharraf will root out al Qaeda and pursue the path of democracy. This is tantamount to giving Osama a free pass. I find it incredulous how this man thinks or fail to think.

    November 10, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |


    November 10, 2007 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  6. Hassan, Houston, TX

    Musharraf is a brutal dictator who has attacked neighbor country (Kargil, India), killed his own people, and has weapons of mass destruction. I say regime change in Pakistan!! The democracy in Pakistan is biggest joke, and promises to hold sham elections is bigger joke. He was feeling threatened by an independent judiciary, so he just got rid of judiciary, how convenient. And now he is going to hold elections to have himself and another suck up Benazir elected.

    November 10, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. Alan, San Angelo Texas

    Has anyone noticed George Bush quit referring to Iranian President Ahmadinejad as Hitler? It's hard to make the analogy stick while a Pakistani General in a military uniform suspends the constitution, disbands the judiciary, silences the independent media and turns his thugs on his political opponents instead of the dreaded Islamic extremists.

    President Bush wants Pervez Musharraf to return to the road to democracy, but the Pakistani dictator has gone four wheeling, like his Burmese counterparts. As long as each does it in an American built Humvee, George W. could care less.

    Those paying attention already know Total SA and Chevron continue filling the vaults of the Burma junta with cash from natural gas PSA's. Of course, the 90% of U.S. aid to Pakistan that is military is spent on what weapons from what American companies?

    George Bush is consistent, he chooses free markets over free people every time.

    November 10, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  8. Bill Ross aka, Sylvania, AL

    Musharif is a disappointment. His reckless decision is not Bush's fault. He seems to have gone nutz.

    Bill Ross

    November 10, 2007 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  9. Raymond, El Paso TX

    Let's see, in the past we've supported the likes of Saddam Hussein and bin Laden. That turned out so well now our ever-vacationing idiot-in-chief thinks we should keep supporting a crazy dictator that we know has nukes.


    November 11, 2007 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  10. Karen,ny

    When you think about it, if he was that dangerous to other people would people really let him stay in office? No, I don't think so. Cheney is behind the scene making sure because he doesn't want his family dead. Congress let him stay to upset Americans so that the Democrats could get elected

    November 11, 2007 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  11. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    .... Bush didn't seem to want to take Saddam at his word when the said there were not WMD ... Bush looked into Putin's eyes and saw his soul ... and look what happened ...

    Bush has such good personal judgment when it come Harriet, Alberto, Rummy, Brownie and on and one ...

    Pakistan has us over a barrel ... collecting huge amounts of financial aid while he establishes a dictatorship ... our investment only supports the terrorists who stroll the streets while lawyers are put in jail ...

    November 11, 2007 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  12. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Bush says "I take a person at their word until "otherwise", and that "Musharraf deserves time to keep his promise". Weren't we giving Millions $$ to Musharraf and still are based upon Musharraf's promise. What the hell is Bush talking about.

    November 11, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. NO HILDA,LA.


    November 11, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  14. Robert Wooller Bradford England

    Bush just can't stop putting his foot in it. He got rid of Saddam Hussein who was evil, and yet he is allies with Pervez Musharraf. Where is the logic behind this?
    In other words, people are really suffering in Pakistan under Musharraf like the Iraqis did under Saddam Hussein, so why don't we go and take Musharraf out?

    November 11, 2007 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  15. Mac, Severn, Md

    Folks might benefit from reading CNN's current headline story talking about Pakistan's nukes being in a dangerous sitution.

    Why would the President support Musharraf?

    "Even the military is filled with Islamic fundamentalists that he's (Musharraf) tried to keep in lower positions."

    "But they're pervasive...And he doesn't have the flexibility of a real military dictator."

    Too many people commenting on world affairs don't see the full picture of what is REALLY going on overseas. The simplistic comments posted here are an embarrassment.

    There are all kinds of forces tugging and pulling at leaders of every country. The Islamic fundamentalists want to make as much trouble as they can in Pakistan.

    November 11, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  16. Giselle, Oklahoma City, OK

    How did it somehow come about that some constitutional breach was found in the Pakistani government which led to the crisis? Look what effect that had on the country? It caused CHAOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are OTHER ways to solve problems you know. I just hope Pakistan can fully pull through and recover from those allegations.

    November 12, 2007 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  17. Jeff, Houston, Texas

    I can see why Bush likes this guy as an allie. Wouldn't George just love to declare mrshall law and throw anyone in jail who disagrees with him? Cheny would wet his pants in delight!

    November 12, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. J Houston TX

    Let's see, in the past we've supported the likes of Saddam Hussein and bin Laden. That turned out so well now our ever-vacationing idiot-in-chief thinks we should keep supporting a crazy dictator that we know has nukes.


    Technology will be the death of us. Think of how many places we label as unsafe for travel that have weapons of mass destruction at their command. That number can only grow. We don't have enough soldiers or allies to fight all the wars that really ought to be fought these days.

    And, we have EVERY right to tell a nuclear state, with terrorist cells inside its borders, how it should operate; thats prudent especially when things start to go crazy.

    November 12, 2007 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Tariq Shah

    I am sick and tired of fools who think Pakistans Nuclear assets are so easy to fall into terrorists hands. These pseudo-pundits have absolutely no idea how Pakistan, Pakistan's military or the Nuclear asset management system works.

    All I read are chicken littles running around screaming 'Pakistans Nukes are falling, the nukes are falling'.

    Please stop your ignorance. These assets are under a very multi layered, compartmentalized structure and very firmly under the full authority and control of a very disciplined Military.

    Have you ever heard of a coup within the Pakistani army, let alone a coup from within lower ranks? Its always the Generals who lead any take over with the armys loyalty behind them.

    November 13, 2007 08:49 am at 8:49 am |