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Peres congratulates Musharraf

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Israel congratulated Pervez Musharraf on his re-election as president of Pakistan.

President Shimon Peres on Monday published an open letter to Musharraf, a former general who seized power in 1999 and swept to a second term in elections over the weekend.

Peres noted that although Islamabad and Jerusalem do not have formal ties, Musharraf has voiced interest in Israeli-Arab peace efforts. Musharraf is an ally of the Bush administration.

“You have shown responsibility and strength in preventing the spread of violence and terrorism on many occasions, and I carry in my heart your support for peace in the Middle East,” Peres wrote. “Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

The Israeli and Pakistani foreign ministers held surprise talks in 2005, but Pakistan has said it will withhold full recognition of the Jewish state until a Palestinian state is founded.

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