Powell: No Negotiations For Reporter

By: Barry Schweid, AP Diplomatic Writer

(AP) Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday ruled out negotiations to gain the release of a Wall Street Journal reporter abducted in Pakistan.

Powell said “we are doing everything we can” to gain the release of reporter Daniel Pearl. Powell said he had talked about Pearl’s plight with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and that he, too, would do his best. “We need to be concerned about his safety,” Powell said.

But, he said, “the demands of the kidnappers are not demands we can meet or deal with or negotiate on.”

The kidnappers’ demands include better treatment for terrorism suspects held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the return of prisoners held by Pakistan.

Meanwhile, a top Treasury Department official plans to urge Pakistan’s president to take all steps possible to bring about Pearl’s release.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Kenneth Dam, who will go to Pakistan and India next week, will “encourage the government of Pakistan to do everything it can to hasten the speedy release from captivity” of Pearl, said Treasury spokesman Robert Nichols. Dam plans to meet Monday with Musharraf and other Pakistani officials, Nichols said.

Powell conferred by telephone with Musharraf on Monday, the State Department said.

An e-mail sent Thursday purportedly by the kidnappers of Pearl extended the deadline for killing him by one day. The unsigned e-mail was received by Pakistani and Western media.

Pearl, the Journal‘s South Asian bureau chief, disappeared Jan. 23 in Karachi. He was trying to arrange an interview with a Muslim cleric, Mubarak Ali Shah Gilani, when he disappeared.

Dam, in his meetings with Pakistan and Indian officials, will discuss efforts to combat terrorist financing, economic growth, and trade.

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