January 2003 News

US Tells Pak To Halt Cross Border Terrorism For Indo-Pak Talks

29 January 2003
The Hindustan Times

Washington DC: Secretary of State Colin Powell has hinted to Pakistan that prospects of dialogue with India, will improve if Islamabad puts an end to cross border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. 'I think many people are watching activity that is occurring across the Line of Control to see whether the rate of that activity, if it went down, might be an encouraging step,' Powell told reporters here on Wednesday after a meeting with visiting Pakistani foreign minister Kurshid Mahmud Kasuri. 'I think we have to find a way to get the dialogue begun. Some suggestions have been made that perhaps some economic moves from one side to the other might be a way to jumpstart it,' Powell said adding that he could not be more 'forthcoming' to that. 'We will continue to work hard at it. The United States is committed to doing everything we can to get the dialogue going,' Powell said. 'We remain committed to a strong US-Pakistan relationship and a strong US-Indian relationship. It is not a zero sum game. We can have good friendships with both nations. And by having good friendship with both nations, we can lend our good offices to solving difficulties between (them),' Powell said at the press conference. To a remark by a correspondent that many Indians were against New Delhi having diplomatic ties with India, Kasuri, who was present at the conference in turn blamed India for 'occupying' Kashmir. He added that Pakistan, he himself and Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali are keen to resume a process that ultimately leads to a solution of all outstanding issues, including the 'core issue' of Jammu and Kashmir. Musharraf facing the 'stop it' din The United States in the past couple of weeks has noticeably increased pressure on Pakistan to stop incursions into Jammu and Kashmir. The latest spate of remarks from top US official comes in the wake of High Commission official harassment controversy and resumption of hostile statements by India and Pakistan after an initial thaw in the stand-off. US ambassador to Pakistan Nancy Powell on January 23 said Pakistan had to live up to its promises 'to prevent infiltration across the Line of Control and end the use of Pakistan as a platform for terrorism.' This triggered a vehement protest from hardliners in Pakistan demanding expelling of the Ambassador. Even as the Nancy Powell controversy was brewing in Pakistan, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher insisted that infiltration has 'come back up somewhat' after going down. He added that Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf must act on his assurances to the US to bring a complete end to infiltration. While Islamabad kept denying anything happening along the LoC it was bluntly reminded of its promises by Britain's High Commissioner to India Rob Young, who during his visit to the Valley earlier called for an end to militants' crossover into Jammu and Kashmir and urged dialogue with India to resolve the issue. 'The British government along with the American government and other governments have been trying to ensure that the commitments which President Musharraf made last summer are fully carried out and there is an end to cross-border infiltration,' Young said in Srinagar on January 16. A few days later, Colin Powell followed up on Young's remarks saying that hope of easing the conflict in the Himalayan region 'continues to be narrowed by terrible acts of terrorist violence in J&K'. 'The United States will continue to urge President Musharraf to do everything in his power to end permanently terrorist infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir,' Blackwill told a gathering of Indians in San Jose. Amid this din of stop infiltration statements, President Musharraf was quoted as saying 'I have been put into a corner by India' during his meeting with Indian Opposition leader Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday.

 

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