India rejects Bush’s offer of facilitation
14 February 2002
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: Maintaining its long held position, India today rejected US offer to facilitate resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue and asserted there is no room for third party involvement. It also said all outstanding issues between the two countries have to be addressed ''directly'' through bilateral dialogue. ''The position of the Government of India is quite clearly stated. It is for India and Pakistan to address the outstanding issues between them directly through bilateral dialogue. There is really no room for any third party involvement in this process,'' External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Nirupama Rao told reporters. She was asked for India’s reac tion to Bush’s remarks made yesterday in Washington after talks with visiting Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. ''I hope we can facilitate serious and meaningful dialogue between India and Pakistan,'' Bush told reporters at the White House in the presence of Musharraf adding US would continue to ''press'' for talks which was the ''best way'' to resolve the problem. Musharraf had pleaded for US mediation or facilitation on the ground that bilateralism has failed to bring about any solution to the protracted Kashmir problem. New Delhi, on its part, has been maintaining that issues between India and Pakistan have to be resolved only by the two neighbours and there is no question of involving the US or any other third party.