U.S. embassy team in Srinagar
26 June 2002
SRINAGAR: A four-member team of officials from the U.S. Embassy is in Srinagar and had meeting with political leaders, senior government and army officials. Comprising Col. Steven Soboto (Defence Attache), Sheetal Patel and Kailash Jha (Political) and Unni Menon (Press) the team, according to sources, is here to assess the latest political and security situation. However, the visit of the Defence Attache is seen as significant in view of the tension on the border with Pakistan and the reported U.S. offer for joint patrol. Sources said that top army officials briefed the team on the prevailing situation in the border area. The team members refused to comment on what transpired. The members also met the Hurriyat chairman, Abdul Gani Bhat and the Democratic Freedom Party leader, Shabir Shah. ''They talked to me about the recent proposal I had put forward in a press conference with a view to finding a peaceful settlement of Kashmir,'' Prof. Bhat said after the meeting. He had suggested triangular talks involving India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris and also asked the Government of India to allow its leaders to visit Pakistan to meet the militant leaders.