January 2001 News

Kashmiri militants should respond to Indian ceasefire, says US

26 January 2001
The Indian Express
Chidanand Rajghatta

Washington DC: In its first formal comments on the developments relating to Kashmir, the Bush administration has welcomed the extension of ceasefire in the state and said the 'peace process would be greatly enhanced if the Kashmiri militant groups responded positively to India's announcement by taking steps to halt the violence.' 'We welcome the announcement by the Indian Cabinet. This followed on earlier steps, positive steps that we have seen from both India and Pakistan. We would encourage all the parties to take initiatives to reduce violence and foster a process to end the conflict in Kashmir,' State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher said at a regular briefing onWednesday. However, Boucher appeared to specifically single out militant groups and the Government of Pakistan and place the burden of scaling down the violence on them. Pakistan should 'use its influence with the militant groups to urge them to halt the violence,' he said. The new administration's comments seem to suggest that Pakistan and the jehadis bear the burden of moving the peace process forward by ending violence in the state in response to the Indian government's ceasefire. Boucher also avoided a direct response to a question about New Delhi insisting on deciding who among the Hurriyat would be given passport to visit Pakistan. 'Our general view has always been that all the groups, everybody involved, should halt the violence and be involved in the process, that the Government of Pakistan as well should use its influence with the militant groups to urge them to halt the violence,' he said. In separate comments on sanctions that were not related specifically to India, Boucher said Secretary of State Colin Powell was examining the issue and a review was underway. But there has been no decisions, no outcomes and no analysis, he added. 'We are looking at the multiple and long list of sanctions that exist in law and elsewhere. And this is an issue that he has stressed the importance of in his hearing, and so the process is under way to look at these things and figure out how to approach the issue. There aren't any results or conclusions at this point,' he said.

 

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