US rejects Pak''s demand of plebiscite in J&K
18 July 2002
The Hindustan Times
Washington DC: Rejecting Islamabad''s persistent demand for a plebiscite in Jammu & Kashmir in accordance to the UN resolution, the US on Friday said it favoured the settlement of the problem bilaterally between India and Pakistan in accordance with the Shimla accord and hoped the coming assembly elections in the state would lead to the resolution of the issue. The US earlier did support the UN resolution calling for a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir. ''But in 1972, India and Pakistan reached an agreement that it would be a bilateral issue. We support India and Pakistan (for settling the issue bilaterally). We are working towards getting the two countries to the table,'' US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca said. At a hearing to the House International Relations subcommittee, she expressed for the first time the US belief that the forthcoming elections in Jammu and Kashmir could serve as a first step towards resolution of the issue. Rocca also stressed the importance of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf ending cross border infiltration permanently. She said in a prepared statement that the encouraging progress in South Asia toward prosperity and democracy is too often overshadowed by the spectre of war between India and Pakistan. ''We remain deeply concerned over the high levels of tension between India and Pakistan and in particular about the continued deployment of forces along their shared border and within Kashmir,'' she said.