03/28/2008 02:48 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Biden: I Urged Musharraf To Provide Bhutto Protection

DES MOINES,IOWA -- Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and presidential candidate Joe Biden (D-Delaware) called a press conference at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Des Moines following the assassination of former prime minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan stating, "This is a terrible day and my heart goes out to Benazir Bhutto's family, friends, and followers."

In his press release, Biden stated that he was convinced Ms. Bhutto would have won free and fair elections next week.

"The fact that she was by far Pakistan's most popular leader underscores the fact that there is a vast, moderate majority in Pakistan that must have a clear voice in the system. Her assassination makes it all the more urgent that Pakistan return to a democratic path."

"Like her father before her, Benazir Bhutto worked her whole life - and gave her life - to help Pakistan become a democratic, secular and modern Muslim country. She was a woman of extraordinary courage who returned to Pakistan in the face of death threats and even after an assassination attempt the day of her return, she did not flinch. It was a privilege to know her these many years and to call her a friend."

Biden stopped short of calling for Musharraf's resignation as Governor Bill Richardson had done earlier today. Instead, he continued to urge Musharraf to "provide better security for Ms. Bhutto and other political leaders."

"I wrote to him before her return and after the first assassination attempt in October. The failure to protect Ms. Bhutto raises a lot of hard questions for the government and security services that must be answered."

Biden urged Pakistan's leaders to open a fully accountable and transparent investigation, calling on Bhutto's followers to also remain calm and not play into the hands of the forces of destruction.

"We must find out who was behind this and bring those responsible to justice. And the United States should offer any assistance necessary, including investigative teams, to get to the bottom of this horror."

Biden ended his statement by saying, "The way to honor Benazir Bhutto is to uphold the values for which she gave her life: democracy, moderation and social justice. I join with the Pakistani people in mourning the loss of a dear friend."

To hear Biden's speech, go here.

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