US Embassy Sends Men, APHC Chief Dilutes Stand
25 July 2003
The Indian Express
New Delhi: Taking note of Hurriyat chairman Moulvi Abbas Ansari's outburst on America's 'bullying tactics' in the region, two US embassy officials visited him on Thursday. The two officials, First Secretary Levan Lewis and Kailesh Jha, went to Ansari's Nawakadal residence where they deliberated on several points revolving around Kashmir. Speaking to The Indian Express, Ansari confirmed that the officials had visited him and discussed his recent remarks about America's 'hegemonistic' policy in south Asia. On his appointment as the conglomerate chief, Ansari had said he believes the Kashmir dispute can be best addressed by India and Pakistan and that big powers like the US and the UK should be keep out of it. However, a day later, Ansari diluted his stand saying if the US presses India and Pakistan for talks 'as a friend and not master', he would welcome the step. 'I told them that I don't approve of US' carrot and stick policy but would be a votary if it extended a friendly support,' he said. 'I would welcome US as a friend and not as a policeman,' he said he had told the duo. Yesterday, the two official assured Ansari of the US' friendship and explained at length that it wanted peace to prosper in Kashmir. 'They invited me to have talks with them at New Delhi in the first week of August,' he said. 'I told them that for the best interests of India and Pakistan, the Kashmir issue needs to be resolved for ever.'