Thursday, June 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak agrees to send troops to Iraq

Washington, June 25
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has agreed “in principle” to send troops to Iraq, but on the condition that Islamabad will not have to finance such a force and it will go under the cover of the UN, the Organisation of Islamic States (OIC) or the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

In an interview to ABC TV, Musharraf said US President George W. Bush brought up the issue of sending Pakistani troops to Iraq during their meeting at Camp David yesterday.

“Yes, he did talk of the Iraq dispute and we did discuss Pakistani troops in principle. We are looking at the modalities. One of the issues is certainly the financial package because it will not be fair to expect Pakistan to finance such a large force,” Musharraf said.

He said the political aspect was also important.

“The issue is not of controlling a Muslim state, but the issue is more the perception of the Muslim world. We need to see whether it can get United Nations cover or the OIC cover or maybe the GCC cover,” he said.

Pakistan also wanted “additional countries participating” in any Iraq force, Musharraf said.

He said he had raised the question of the governance of Iraq during the meeting.

“This is one area we are examining. I feel the main problem is to establish some semblance of governance by the Iraqi people because governance cannot be done by any non-Iraqi extensively,” Musharraf said.

There were three major groups — the Shias in the south, the Kurds in the north and the Sunnis in the central region, he said.

“This is another problem area where governance will face some challenges,” Musharraf said. — PTI

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