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Bush Sends Rumsfeld to S. Asia

May 30, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush on Thursday urged Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to ``live up to his word″ and stop cross-border terrorism in Kashmir. He dispatched Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to help ease tensions between India and Pakistan.

Secretary of State Colin Powell has already sent his top aide, Richard Armitage, to the region as the international community tries to prevent a war between the nuclear-powered neighbors.

``We are making it very clear to both Pakistan and India that war will not serve their interests, `` Bush said after a Cabinet meeting. ``We are part of an international coalition applying pressure to both parties.″

In particular, he said, Musharraf must keep his promise to stem terrorism in Kashmir, the disputed land between India and Pakistan.

Flanked by Powell and Rumsfeld at the polished Cabinet Room table, Bush said Rumsfeld will go to the region next week. He did not say what countries were on the defense secretary’s agenda.

With tensions skyrocketing, Bush responded to a report in USA Today that the government was making plans for the possible evacuation of 1,100 U.S. troop sand up to 63,000 U.S citizens from both countries.

He said Rumsfeld and Powell are ``analyzing what it would take to protect American lives if need be.″ He did not elaborate.

He also pledged to continue efforts to track down al-Qaida members in Pakistan.

``We’re doing everything we can to shore up our effort on the Pakistan-Afghan border,″ Bush said. ``We’re going to hunt them down.″

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