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Pakistani president tells foreign troops to keep out

  • Story Highlights
  • Pakistan won't tolerate "violations of our sovereignty" by anyone, says president
  • Asif Ali Zardari makes his first speech to parliament since taking over as president
  • Comments follow a U.S. raid into Pakistan in search of Islamic extremists
  • President Bush to meet with Zardari at U.N. next week, White House says
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan will not allow foreign powers to violate the country's sovereignty to pursue terrorists, the country's new president, Asif Ali Zardari, said Saturday.

"We will not tolerate the violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity by any power in the name of combating terrorism," he said in his first speech to Parliament since taking the presidential oath this month.

The president's comments echo those of Gen. Parvez Kayani, Pakistan's military chief, who said recently that the country would not allow foreign forces to conduct operations inside Pakistan.

Those comments came after the United States launched a military ground operation in South Waziristan, a region near the Afghan border that is home to Islamic extremists.

The United States maintains that Taliban and al Qaeda forces operate with relative impunity in tribal areas along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. It says extremists use those areas as a staging ground to attack U.S. forces and their allies inside Afghanistan.

The U.S. military sent ground forces into South Waziristan this month without Islamabad's permission. Several months ago, President Bush authorized U.S. special forces to carry out ground assaults inside Pakistan without seeking Islamabad's permission, according to media reports.

In addition, missiles fired from unmanned aircraft have targeted members of al Qaeda and suspected Taliban militants inside Pakistan several times this year. The United States is the only nation with forces in the region that is known to be able to launch missiles from the small, quiet and deadly drones.

After news of the U.S. military operation in South Waziristan, Kayani said Pakistan's "territorial integrity ... will be defended at all cost and no external force is allowed to conduct operations ... inside Pakistan."

On Wednesday, the top U.S. military officer, Adm. Michael Mullen, visited Pakistan to confer with senior leaders.

During his brief visit, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met with Kayani and Pakistan's newly elected prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani.

The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan described the talks as "extremely frank, positive and constructive."

Mullen reiterated U.S. commitment to respect Pakistan's sovereignty and to develop further U.S.-Pakistani cooperation and coordination, the embassy said in a statement.

Zardari will meet with Bush next week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the White House announced Thursday.

"The two leaders will discuss efforts to strengthen the bilateral relationship and build a long-term partnership based on common values," said Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino.

All About PakistanAl QaedaThe TalibanUnited Nations General Assembly

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