Saturday, September 9, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak wants US role on Kashmir
From A. Balu

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 8 — The chief executive of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, wants US President Bill Clinton to adopt a more persuasive role vis-a-vis India in getting things move towards a resolution of the Kashmir issue.

He told a crowded press conference at the United Nations yesterday that Mr Clinton was trying to play a role in initiating a process of dialogue between India and Pakistan. He said, “I would say a stronger method of persuasion is required.”

Asked to elaborate, General Musharraf said he would leave it to Mr Clinton. “He can manage that,” he said. Apparently, the General forgot that President Clinton had only a few more months at the White House.

As in his address to the Millennium summit Kashmir figured prominently at the press conference, but he had nothing new to add, except to say that “the ball is in Mr Vajpayee’s court.”

“I would like to meet at any level, at any place at any time,” the General said. He had given his commitment but he did not see progress on the issue. There was a “window of opportunity” recently to initiate a dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue but the Indian response was “absolutely negative” in that they said that Pakistan was not party to the dispute which was “most ridiculous.”

General Musharraf noted that India had said the resolution of the bilateral dispute would be within the Indian Union. The status quo was the dispute, and if they were sticking to the status quo, “they are most unrealistic,” he said.

The Pakistan chief executive acknowledged that bilateral method was the best methodology, but said there was lack of sincerity on the part of India. If there were no bilateral negotiations, then the only methodology was for somebody to mediate.

General Musharraf, who had a meeting with the UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, said it was the duty of the UN to resolve the “longest outstanding dispute” on the agenda of the world organisation. It was high time that the UN took congnisance of the dispute and resolve it.

General Musharraf, who has had bilateral meetings with some of the world leaders attending the summit, said in reply to a question that he saw a change in the understanding of Kashmir today. Kashmir was in focus much more now, he added.

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