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Negroponte In Pakistan As Pressure Mounts For Action


John Negroponte

John Negroponte

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) -- U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte has arrived in Islamabad as pressure builds on Pakistan to take stern action against Islamist militants following last month's attack on Mumbai.

Negroponte is expected to meet President Asif Ali Zardari and will have talks with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a Foreign Ministry official said.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Lou Fintor said Negroponte was discussing "regional issues" with Pakistani leaders.

The United States has engaged in intensive diplomacy to stop tensions mounting between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan and keep Islamabad focused on fighting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda on its border with Afghanistan.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited both India and Pakistan last week.

She urged Pakistan to swiftly and transparently offer cooperation to India in the investigations, and called on India to show restraint.

Pakistani security forces have arrested around 20 militants in raids on their camps and on offices of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity linked to the Lashkar-e-Taiba jihadi organization, an intelligence official told Reuters.

They included two men Lashkar operations chiefs that India says were involved in planning the coordinated attacks by 10 gunmen.

India says 179 people were killed in the attacks on Mumbai.

The UN said on December 10 that the Security Council has added four Lashkar leaders to a list of people and groups facing sanctions for ties to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, including a freeze on assets and a travel ban.

The Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity was also added to the list.
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