October 1999 News

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Pak hints at resumption of dialogue with India

3 October 1999
Daily Excelsior

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan today hinted that the stalled Indo-Pak dialogue process could resume soon claiming that international pressure was increasing on New Delhi to deal resolutely with Kashmir issue.

Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz, who returned here last evening from the UN general assembly session in New York, told reporters here today that the talks were expected to resume after the expected meetings between the Premiers of the two countries during the Commonwealth heads of Government meeting in Durban in mid-November.

"I think as soon as possible," Aziz said when asked when did he expect the bilateral talks to resume.

By then the newly-elected Government in India would have about a month to settle down, he added.

There was also likelihood of another meeting between the two Prime Ministers during the SAARC summit beginning from November 26 in Kathmandu, Aziz said.

Aziz claimed that during his meetings on the sidelines of UN general assembly with the envoys from different countries he mainly focussed on the Kashmir issue and the security situation in South Asia.

On Kashmir I found a deep concern among my colleagues and a desire for early progress towards the resolution of this issue which would help in normalization of the situation in the region, Aziz said.

Aziz claimed that the demand by 60 US Congressmen urging President Bill Clinton to appoint a special envoy for Kashmir signified "increasing international pressure on India to deal resolutely with the Kashmir issue".

However, democratic Congressman Gary L Ackerman said in Washington on Wednesday last that both the White House and State Department had rejected the demand of the special envoy for Kashmir.

Aziz, however, conceded that instead of mediation on the Kashmir issue, the prevailing opinion among the world leaders was that Islamabad and New Delhi should initiate the dialogue process to resolve the issue.

At this stage, the issue is of promoting dialogue between the two countries, so they (world leaders) emphasised that peaceful solution requires dialogue, he said.

The Foreign Minister rejected the notion that Clinton had agreed to resolve the Kashmir issue, clarifying that the US President had not promised about resolving the issue but he had simply said promoting and intensifying dialogue between the two countries.

He (Clinton) has been doing this and I presume this effort to intensify the dialogue process will increase after the Indian elections are over and a new Government takes over, he said.

Aziz claimed that during his interactions in New York, Pakistan successfully countered the Indian propaganda on Kargil issue. Pakistan has succeeded in effectively countering Indian propaganda about cross-border terrorism and in shifting the focus of international attention from Kargil to the reality of the Kashmir issue, he said. (PTI)


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