Thursday, September 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

PM, Bush discuss Iraq, terrorism
M. Shakeel Ahmed

New York, September 24
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today met US President George W. Bush, the second in four months, for talks on issues, including the Iraq situation and the global fight against terror.

The two leaders shook hands and posed for photographs before they went into discussions at Hotel Waldorf Astoria.

After preliminary talks, the parleys continued over lunch.

The meeting was held in the backdrop of US request to India for stationing its troops in Iraq which India has said was not possible without an explicit mandate from the UN.

India has made it clear that apart from the UN mandate the question of Indian troops being deployed in the war-ravaged country would also depend on a political consensus back home.

Reiterating the US position, Mr Bush had said earlier this week he would love to have Indian troops in Iraq and would take up the issue with Mr Vajpayee.

The Prime Minister is also understood to have raised with the US leader New Delhi’s concerns over continuing cross-border terrorism and the need to rein in terror from across India’s borders.

While Mr Bush is meeting a number of world leaders during his three-day stay here, he is having a bilateral luncheon meeting only with Mr Vajpayee. — PTI 


Kashmir most dangerous dispute, says Musharraf

United Nations, September 24
Raking up Kashmir issue once again in the United Nations and describing it as the “most dangerous dispute in the world,” Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today said a “sustained” dialogue with India was necessary to resolve the problem. He also said he would “invite” India to observe complete ceasefire along the Line of Control in Kashmir.

“I invite India to join Pakistan in a sustained dialogue to resolve the Kashmir dispute. With goodwill, we can find a just solution which is acceptable to India, to Pakistan and above all, to the Kashmiri people,” he told the United Nations General Assembly.

Rejecting the charge that Islamabad was indulging in cross border terrorism, he accused New Delhi of “exploiting” anti-terrorism sentiments to “delegitimise the Kashmiri freedom struggle.” He also alleged that India was violating the international law by refusing to implement the Security Council resolutions and “perpetrating gross and consistent violations of human rights in Kashmir.”

“Pakistan would also be prepared to encourage a general cessation of violence within Kashmir, involving reciprocal obligations and restraints on the Indian forces and the Kashmir freedom movement,” he added.

Accusing India of going in for “massive buildup” of conventional and non-conventional weapons, Musharraf said it would destabilise South Asia and erode strategic deterrence.”

Meanwhile, reports from New York say Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today met US President George W. Bush and is understood to have conveyed Islamabad’s readiness to send troops to Iraq only if the Iraqi people wanted it and in coordination with the OIC and other Islamic nations. — PTI


Vajpayee praises Sonia

New York, September 24
In a rebuff to critics of India’s growing friendship with Israel, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today unequivocally came out in support of Palestinian statehood and said the violence in the region must stop.

Notwithstanding its friendly relations with Israel, Mr Vajpayee asserted India’s principled stand on Palestine and said, “We continue to champion the cause of the Arab world.”

Mr Vajpayee praised Congress President Sonia Gandhi for meeting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon when he visited India, ignoring the boycott call by some supportive political parties and the Third Front. — PTI

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