EU envoys discuss J&K polls with Farooq, Hurriyat leaders
7 August 2002
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: Five European Union diplomats have held talks with Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and Hurriyat leaders separately on the forthcoming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. ''We are here on an assessment tour,'' delegation leader Michel Stenberg of Denmark told reporters at the end of a two-and-a-half hour-long meeting with Hurriyat leaders at its headquarters here on Wednesday. ''We will now report to our respective government'', he said. The delegation, which is on a five-day visit to the state, had an hour-long meeting with Abdullah on Tuesday night during which the Chief Minister gave an account of the human tragedy and the colossal damage caused to the infrastructure in the state in the wake of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Abdullah told them cross-border terrorism has retarded the pace of development in the state. Besides Stenberg, other members of the delegation are Estatos Lozos (Greece), Itala Qcchi (Italy), Signi Ropika (Denmark) and Michel Caillite (France), who heads the EU''s mission in New Delhi. The delegation also met CPI (M) leader M Y Tarigami. Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat said after the meeting that the delegation was told that the ''resolution of the Kashmir issue is the key to the normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan and peace in the sub-continent''.