May 2002 News

Bush asks Musharraf to stop cross border terrorism

25 May 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Correspondent

ST. PETERSBURG (RUSSIA): US President George Bush today firmly told Pakistan to fulfil its pledge to stop cross-border terrorism even as Russian President Vladimir Putin said he expected to meet leaders of India and Pakistan for talks early next month in Almaty to defuse their military stand- off. Russia also strongly condemned the Ghauri missile test by Pakistan and asked Islamabad to move from ''words to deeds'' in demonstrating its genuine desire for political dialogue with India. Bush, on a visit to St. Petersburg, said: ''it is very important for President Musharraf to do what he said he was going to do... And that is to stop the incursions across the border.'' ''It is important that India knows that he (Musharraf) is going to fulfil his promise'' to crackdown on Pakistan-based militants active in Jammu and Kashmir,'' he said. Putin told reporters while visiting St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum with Bush that he expected to meet Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President Pervez Musharraf early June at Almaty in Kazakhstan to try and defuse the prevailing tension between their countries. ''I hope they will come, so that we can discuss the matter here and prevent further escalation of the conflict,'' he said. Itar-Tass quoted sources in the Foreign Ministry as saying that Putin’s meetings with the Indian and Pakistani leaders could take place on the sidelines of the three-day summit on cooperation and trust-building measures in Asia from June 3 at Almaty. Reacting to Pakistan test firing of Ghauri missile today, Putin said: ''Russia regrets that the tests are being conducted in the conditions of the conflict.'' Russian Foreign Ministry issued a strongly worded statement condemning the Pakistani missile launch and said Islamabad must move ‘from words to deeds’ in demonstrating its genuine desire for a political dialogue with India. ''In a complicated and explosive situation between India and Pakistan, which at any moment may grow into war, these kinds of action on the part of the Pakistani administration, cannot but aggravate the situation and cannot be seen in isolation from the present deep crisis in Indian-Pakistani relations and clearly run counter to the readiness repeatedly expressed by the Pakistani leadership for joint efforts with the international community to politically resolve the conflict with India,'' it said. It also told its citizens to refrain from visiting Pakistan, especially its parts bordering with India. This is the second strong statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry in less then 24-hours, blaming Pakistan for the current crisis. Media reports in Islamabad said that Musharraf, under intense international pressure, has approved ‘sweeping measures’ against militants. The reports said the Government had asked the Ministry of Finance, State Bank of Pakistan, law and justice division and provincial Home departments to take appropriate measures against the banned militant outfits. ''The Home departments of the four provinces have been asked to get tough on the arrested activists and immediately shift all dangerous jailed activists to some ''safer’ places from where they could not manage to flee'', the News daily reported. The newspaper said the measures were being taken to remove the impression being created internationally that Pakistan is not doing enough to rein in terrorists. Senior Bush administration officials said in Washington that they are focussing ''like a laser beam in trying to stop a war over the next two or three weeks.'' The US diplomatic strategy, according to the Washington Post newspaper, is closely coordinated with Britain. It quoted officials as saying that the strategy is aimed at keeping India from launching military operations against Pakistan before Musharraf’s orders to stop the cross-border movement of militants have a chance to filter down to his field commanders. According to senior Pakistani officials familiar with the discussions held Thursday at the joint staff headquarters in Rawalpindi, the Post says, Pakistan’s military commanders had decided to take whatever steps necessary to prevent extremists from crossing into Indian territory. After this meeting, the Pakistani 10th Corps, deployed in Northern Pakistan and facing Indian forces in Kashmir, was ordered to block the mountain routes traditionally used by militants to cross the border.

 

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