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July 21, 1999
Pak wants 'real dialogue' on Kashmir
Pakistan today reacted coolly to India's offer of peace talks, saying it needed real dialogue and mediation to solve the Kashmir issue.
Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad told the official APP news agency in Saudi Arabia that the Indian offer of talks was a ''tactical ploy'' to ease pressure on New Delhi for dialogue but Pakistan wanted ''real dialogue'' on the issue.
''It is time that India should avoid using the name of dialogue as a tactical ploy,'' the official said while accompanying Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief on an official visit to Saudi Arabia.
He repeated Pakistan's complaint that previous peace talks had been a restatement of age-old positions and that mediation, which India rejects, was needed.
''India has been speaking the language of war, belligerence, hegemony and brutalities while we talk with a commitment to peace, stability and resolution of disputes through peaceful means,'' he said.
''So, the difference is basic. Hence, it is all the more necessary to have an interpreter,'' Ahmad added.
''A Kargil-like situation erupts only due to non-resolution of the core issue of Kashmir,'' he said, reacting to Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh's statement that New Delhi was ready for talks but the pace of any dialogue depended on what Pakistan did next.
APP said Sharief received a telephone call overnight from the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan expressing his ''warm greetings and deep appreciation for the prime minister's bold and courageous decision to de-escalate the Kargil situation.''
''Kofi Annan said he was deeply impressed by the prime minister's strong commitment to peace and the resolution of all disputes through dialogue and negotiations,'' APP said.
Sharief was expected to return to Islamabad tomorrow evening and to visit areas close to the Line of Control.
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