End terrorist safe havens, Obama tells Pakistan


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Terror safe-havens in Pak unacceptable: Obama

NEW DELHI: Sending a strong message to Pakistan, President Barack Obama on Monday made it clear that terrorist "safe havens" within its borders are "unacceptable" and asked it to bring terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks to justice.

"...We will continue to insist to Pakistan's leaders that terrorist safe-havens within their borders are unacceptable, and that the terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks be brought to justice," the President said in his 35-minute address to members of both houses of Parliament.

Obama said India and the US were working together, more closely than ever, to counter terrorism.

Noting that the US' strategy to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida and its affiliates has to succeed on both sides of the border, Obama said that is why the US has worked with the Pakistani government to address the threat of terrorist networks in the border region.

"The Pakistani government increasingly recognizes that these networks are not just a threat outside of Pakistan--they are a threat to the Pakistani people, who have suffered greatly at the hands of violent extremists," he said. Paying rich tributes to the victims of the "barbaric" Mumbai attacks in 2008, Obama said he honours the memory of all those died in the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and the Mumbai carnage.

Obama said "we must also recognize that all of us have and interest in both an Afghanistan and a Pakistan that is stable, prosperous and democratic -- and none more so than India."

Earlier in the day, Obama had pushed for resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue and even offered to play a role in resolving the issues if the two countries wanted.

In his speech to Parliament, Obama acknowledged India's contributions in Afghanistan and said it has improved the lives of the Afghan people.

"We're making progress in our mission to break the Taliban's momentum and to train Afghan forces so they can take the lead for their security. And while I have made it clear that American forces will begin the transition to Afghan responsibility next summer, I have also made it clear that America's commitment to the Afghan people will endure," he said.

The US will not abandon the people of Afghanistan or the region "to the violent extremists who threaten us all."