Monday, June 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Bush agrees with PM’s peace terms
To ask Musharraf to stop cross-border terrorism
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

Evian (France), June 1
The US President, Mr George W. Bush, categorically told the Indian Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, that he would talk to Gen Pervez Musharraf to stop cross-border terrorism when the Pakistan President pays an official visit to Camp David on June 14.

Mr Bush agreed with Mr Vajpayee that dialogue with Islamabad is not possible without ending cross-border terrorism.

While appreciating Mr Vajpayee’s fresh initiative to hold talks with Pakistan, Mr Bush said: “It is a laudatory effort”, according to authoritative sources. Mr Bush informed Mr Vajpayee that he would be talking to General Musharraf in this regard.

The two leaders exchanged views on the delicate Indo-Pak relations for about seven minutes and had a chitchat during a dinner in St Petersburg last night when they were seated on the same table along with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Italian President Berlusconi and Greek leader Constantine Simitis, who is taking over the leadership of the European Union.

Basically, India has to be convinced that Pakistan has “taken a strategic decision to stop cross-border terrorism and that they are sincerely implementing it. That has not happened,” the sources said.

The sources maintained there was no climbdown in attempts to check infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir by the Pakistanis.

During May many attempts were made in infiltrating groups of 10, 12 or 15 persons.

“We have not seen any reduction in infiltration or steps being taken by Pakistan to check or stop cross-border terrorism. That would indicate there is no climbdown as evidenced by the fact that infiltration has been fairly sizeable,” the sources said.

Mr Vajpayee’s meeting with the Chinese President, Mr Hu Jintao, was essentially for the two leaders to know each other. Mr Hu was highly appreciative of the Prime Minister’s Pakistan initiative. The 30-minute meeting between the two leaders was “good and friendly” which has prepared the way for the talks in Beijing during Mr Vajpayee’s visit to China in the last week of this month.

On Iraq, Mr Vajpayee’s discussions with the leaders of the four permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in St Petersburg showed that “matters had got bogged down in respect of the political process.” However, wider opinion is that any further action in Iraq for ensuring its stability and development should be done through the United Nations.

The sources said there was deep division among the Western powers on Iran with Washington toughening its stand towards Tehran. India firmly believes if any military action is launched against Iran, the reaction of the international community will be really strong. There is deep division in the USA on this issue. A dialogue is already under way to remove the misgivings of the USA against Iran.

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