Bush focused on one enemy

 

FRANCE: Nothing in the world matters as much to President Bush as his "war on terrorism". Not even the possibility of war between two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan.

Asked at a press conference in the Élysée Palace how he responded to Pakistan's testing of medium-range missiles, on Saturday, Mr Bush said: "Ah, Pakistan, yeah. We expressed deep concern and we will continue to express deep concern about testing and I'm more concerned about making sure that, uh, insisting that along with other world leaders including the President of France that, uh, President Musharaf show results in terms of stopping people from crossing the line of control, stopping terrorism. That's more important than the missile tests. Perform."

India has massed 620,000 soldiers on its border with Pakistan - half of its army. Pakistan has sent 400,000 troops to the Kashmir region, two-thirds of its armed forces.

Since the two countries went to war in 1971, tens of thousands of civilians and combatants have died in the continuing conflict.

But Mr Bush's main concern is that Mr Musharaf do more to help him dismantle the al-Qaeda network, many of whose militants are believed to have escaped from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

AFP reports from Washington:

The US Secretary of State, Mr Colin Powell, expressed concern yesterday that Pakistan continued to test nuclear-capable missiles at a moment of heightened tensions with India.

"We've expressed our disappointment that they're undertaking missile tests at this very, very tense time," Mr Powell told CNN.

The national security adviser, Ms Condoleezza Rice, expressed more concern.

"We're very disappointed that the Pakistani government decided to carry out these missile tests," Ms Rice told the Fox News TV channel. In fact, if (the tests) are routine, as the Pakistanis have said, the timing is not particularly good."