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President Musharraf Resigns

Pervez Musharraf announced his resignation as President of Pakistan on August 18th. In accordance with Pakistan's constitution, President Musharraf's letter of resignation has now been accepted by the Speaker of the country's lower house of parliament. The chairman of Pakistan's upper house will serve as acting president, until a new president is elected by Parliament and the four provincial assemblies.

In a statement issued later that day, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, "President Musharraf has been a friend to the United States and one of the world's most committed partners in the war against terrorism and extremism. President Musharraf made the critical choice to join the fight against al-Qaida, the Taliban, and other extremist groups that threaten the peace and security of Pakistan, its neighbors, and partners throughout the world." Dr. Rice expressed America's "deep gratitude" to President Musharraf for his leadership in the war on terror.

Secretary Rice also pledged continued United States support for Pakistan's democratically elected civilian government in its desire to modernize the country and build democratic institutions. Secretary Rice said, the United States supported the transition to democratic government in Pakistan and respects the results of the February parliamentary and provincial assembly elections. "We believe that respect for the democratic and constitutional processes in that country is fundamental to Pakistan's future and its fight against terrorism," said Dr. Rice.

The U.S., said Dr. Rice, "will continue to work with the Pakistani government and political leaders and urge them to redouble their focus on Pakistan's future and its most urgent needs, including stemming the growth of extremism, addressing food and energy shortages, and improving economic stability. She said the U.S. "will help with these efforts to see Pakistan reach its goal of becoming a stable, prosperous, democratic, modern, Muslim nation."