US envoy demands end to infiltration
23 January 2003
The Daily Times
KARACHI: The United States asked Pakistan on Thursday to prevent the infiltration of militants into Held Kashmir in line with past promises. 'The government of Pakistan must ensure its pledges are implemented to prevent infiltration across the Line of Control and end the use of Pakistan as a platform for terrorism,' said Nancy Powell, US ambassador to Pakistan. Powell said international lobbying, which swung into full gear in May and June to avert war between the two South Asian neighbours, was 'no substitute for India and Pakistan working seriously to narrow the differences and redefine their relationship.' 'I cannot overstate the importance of all parties working to end the culture of violence that afflicts Kashmir,' Powell told a lunch meeting of top businessmen at the American Business Council in Karachi. Ms Powell said tension was reduced between the two countries and forces withdrawn from the international border because of international diplomatic efforts. 'We continue to look for ways to encourage peace in Kashmir. One important step could be a ceasefire along the LOC,' she added. Debt relief She said the US government was trying to win approval from Congress to write off a third of Pakistan's $3 billion official debt to the United States in the current financial year (Oct-Sept). President George Bush had promised President Pervez Musharraf last February that 'he would work with Congress to forgive $1 billion of the $3 billion owed by Pakistan to the US government,' Powell told businessmen. 'We are working hard to have this substantial debt forgiveness included by Congress in the current budget,' she said. Powell said the US and Pakistan had increased interaction in the fields of economic development, education, non-proliferation, human resource development, democracy, counter-terrorism, regional stability and military cooperation. 'Let me make one thing perfectly clear. The United States is back in Pakistan for the long-term. The new relationship between the United States and Pakistan is not just about September 11. It's about the rebirth of long-term partnership between our two countries', she said.